LEF Moving Image Fund Grants

The goal of LEF New England is to fund the work of independent documentary film and video artists in the region and to broaden recognition and support for their work, both locally and nationally. It also supports programs that highlight the rich history and ongoing legacy of innovation within New England’s independent film community.

LEF New England launched the Moving Image Fund (MIF) in 2002 to support new film and video work. The Moving Image Fund provides funding across all phases of production, supporting films from the early risk-taking stage, through a film’s completion. In this way, MIF offers a continuum of support for selected projects while also identifying new talent. The peer review panel process lies at the heart of LEF's grant review. 

Through MIF, LEF New England champions work that is provocative, heartfelt, and challenging in style and substance. Since its inception, LEF’s Moving Image Fund has awarded over 450 grants to New England-based independent filmmakers with over $5 million in funding. The overarching goal of LEF New England’s philanthropic investment is to help build a sustainable and strong community of support for artists and their work.


The strongest proposals will be those that clearly articulate the ways in which the proposed project aligns with the program’s funding criteria.

Funding Criteria

  •  Quality of cinematic form and technique
  •  Originality of filmmaker’s voice, vision, and point of view
  •  Resonance and power of the film’s core idea or story
  •  Feasibility of production

Eligibility Requirements

  • Projects must be long format; running times of 40 minutes or more.
  • Primary creative personnel (director and/or producer) must reside in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont).
  • Projects with directors or producers enrolled in high school, undergraduate or master’s degree programs at the time of application are ineligible for consideration.
  • Multi-channel or installation work will not be considered.
  • LEF does not require you to have a confirmed fiscal sponsor at the time that you submit a letter of inquiry or application. However, if you are awarded a grant, you must have a confirmed 501c3 fiscal sponsor in place in order to receive any grant funding. (Find more details about locating a fiscal sponsor on our FAQ page, and reach out to us if you have other questions.)
  • For prior grantees, a final report on previous LEF grant funding is required. Previous LEF grantees can visit the For MIF Grantees page of LEF's website for more information.
  • To be eligible for Post-production funding, the project for which you are applying must have received previous LEF support. 


Learn more about application requirements and how to apply here.


2024 Moving Image Fund Deadlines

  • The next Production & Post-production LEF Moving Image Fund deadline will be on January 19, 2024 at 11:59pm ET (Eastern Time). The submission forms open in November 2023.   
  • The next Early Development & Pre-Production LEF Moving Image Fund deadline will be in early August 2024. The submission forms open in June 2023. 

Nonfiction Core Application

Because the LEF Moving Image Fund has adapted its submission forms from the Nonfiction Core Application, you might already have a head start on your LEF application or letter of inquiry if you've submitted a grant proposal to another funder that makes use of the Core. Learn more on the Nonfiction Core Application website.  


Early Development Grants

 LEF's Early Development grant phase is considered an initial, seed-funding stage that takes place earlier than Pre-production. Early Development grants are for filmmakers who have not yet shot and edited any initial tests of picture and sound. Filmmakers with projects in early development may still be focused on the writing, research, and trust-building stages of a new project, and will not yet have a representative current sample for the project available to submit.  
However, if you do have a current edited work sample available to share for the proposed project, you may be eligible to apply for LEF's Pre-production grant, which shares the same deadline. The Early Development grant application form requires two past work samples, and current work samples are not accepted. Please contact us if you have any questions about this.


 If the completion of this written application is a barrier to applying for the Moving Image Fund and you would prefer to submit your application by other means (i.e. video or audio application), please send an email to LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia (matthew@lef-foundation.org), preferably by two weeks ahead of the submission deadline.

Grant Amount: A maximum of 6 grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to projects in the Early Development phase at an August deadline each year

Appropriate Use of Funds: Early Development funds may be used for research, travel, location scouting, script or storyboard development, experimentation with shooting picture and sound,  distribution planning, fundraising, creating a trailer, schedule and budget development, and staffing (creative, technical, or otherwise). 

 
Peer Readers: The Moving Image Fund’s Early Development applications will be reviewed by a group of three peer readers, whose notes and recommendations will inform a final grant decision made by LEF staff. Peer readers at this stage are all New England-based filmmakers with at least 3-4 years of personal or professional experience in the field of documentary/non-fiction film, experimental non-fiction film/video, and/or hybrid documentary forms. Peer reviewers remain anonymous, change at every round, and are compensated with an honorarium for their time. Together, peer reviewers represent a diversity of perspectives on documentary. Nominations of new peer reviewers are accepted on a rolling basis from past LEF grantees and recent peer reviewers.

Before Applying: Before submitting an Early Development application, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read our guidelines, details on how to apply, and frequently asked questions. After reading these instructions, if you have any questions about eligibility or how to apply, feel free to contact LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org and LEF Program Director Gen Carmel at gen@lef-foundation.org. You can also reach LEF New England staff at 617-492-5333.

Application Deadline:

 

  • Friday, 16 August 2024 - 11:59pm

(Notification of award decisions will be sent via e-mail by early October)

Application Requirements:

 Interested applicants should submit a completed application form via Submittable and two past work samples that show prior moving image work completed by any confirmed members of the current project's creative team.

Fiscal Sponsorship:
 You are not required to have a confirmed fiscal sponsor at the time that you apply. However, this submission form does provide the option for you to share who your confirmed or potential fiscal sponsor will be. If you are awarded a grant, you must have a confirmed 501c3 fiscal sponsor in place in order to receive any grant funding. Find more details about locating a fiscal sponsor on our FAQ page, and reach out to us if you have other questions.

Application Form Checklist:

 The application form asks for the following information, adapted from the Nonfiction Core Application:

 

  • Applicant Contact Information
  • Fiscal Sponsor Contact Information (optional, see above)
  • Project Title
  • Project Website (optional)
  • Estimated Running Time
  • Logline (Up to 50 words)
  • Story or Concept Summary (Up to 1000 words)
  • Artistic Approach  (Up to 1000 words)
  • Authorship: Access and Accountability (Up to 750 words)
  • Creative Control (Up to 50 words)
  • Community Care and Safety (Up to 750 words)
  • Accessibility (Suggested Length: Up to 500 words)
  • Project Stage and Timeline (Up to 500 words)
  • Key Creative Personnel (Suggested Length: 200 words per bio)
  • Budget Summary 
  • Funding to Date (Up to 200 words)
  • Grant Impact (Up to 200 words)
  • Work Sample Information (see more details below)
  • Previous LEF Applicant Information (If you have previously applied to LEF for this project, you will be asked how your project has progressed since the time you last applied. If you are a previous grantee, please make sure you have sent a final report on your last funded project to LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org or completed the final report form here.)
  • Supplemental Materials (optional) (Including the résumés, filmographies, or short bios of key creative project personnel, a pitch deck or mood board for the current project, and/or relevant press clippings or PR material you would like to share about the film, filmmaker or subject matter of the film.)



Work Samples

 

  • Please submit two completed past works from the current project's creative team, and explain how the current project being proposed for funding is informed by or builds on your prior work. If the current project is a departure from the previous work, how will this film differ? Due to time constraints, reviewers are only required to watch up to 10 minutes of footage per sample. If your sample is longer than 10 minutes, please provide reviewers with the time codes for a portion of the sample that is up to 10 minutes (e.g., "3:15-12:15" or "Please watch 0:00-3:00 and then skip to 17:00-24:00"). 
  • Work samples should be submitted in your application form as Vimeo links that will remain available to view online by peer reviewers through the duration of your application review timeline.  Please complete all fields per work sample.  
  • To increase accessibility for the review process, applicants are strongly encouraged to create captions for their work samples. We recommend the “​​Subtitling, Captioning, and ASL Captioning Info and Services” section of FWD-Doc’s resources page for guidance on how to create captions, subtitles, and audio descriptions.
     



 IMPORTANT - You may begin filling information on the submission form, leave and return later as many times as necessary to complete the form. However, you must hit the SAVE button at the end of the page before leaving. ONCE YOU SUBMIT THE FORM YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EDIT YOUR APPLICATION INFORMATION OR SUBMITTED FILES.   
There is a 21 day limit on saved applications, which can be refreshed each time you re-save your application.  
 

We recommend drafting and saving your work in an offline file, in case you encounter any issues when saving your work online.
 

Global Data Protection Regulation Consent:  By applying for this opportunity, you agree to allow LEF to use the information you provide to be in touch with you by phone or e-mail about updates on your application, to process this information in order to make a funding decision, and, if your project is selected for funding, to share your project's title, brief description and direction/production team members in our public Moving Image Fund grant directory and public grant announcement. If you are awarded a grant for a project that has sensitive subject matter, and would like to take additional measures to protect the privacy of those involved with the film, please contact LEF staff, and we would be happy to discuss this with you after an award decision is made.
 

Trouble submitting? Contact Submittable at support@submittable.com or 855.467.8264.  
 Proposal Questions? Contact LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org, or 617-492-5333.

Pre-production Grants
 LEF's Pre-production grant phase is a mid-development funding stage for filmmakers who have already shot and edited some initial tests of picture and sound for a current work sample for the proposed project, and who are still focused on the writing, research, and trust-building stages for their film.
If you don't yet have a current video work sample including footage from your proposed project, your project is not eligible for a Pre-production grant. However, you may be eligible to apply within the Early Development grant phase, which shares the same deadline. Please let us know if you have any questions about this.


 If the completion of this written application is a barrier to applying for the Moving Image Fund and you would prefer to submit your application by other means (i.e. video or audio application), please send an email to LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia (matthew@lef-foundation.org), preferably by two weeks ahead of the submission deadline.


Grant Amount: A maximum of (6) grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Pre-production phase at an August deadline each year.

Appropriate Use of Funds: Pre-production funds may be used for research, travel, location scouting, script or storyboard development, experimentation with shooting picture and sound, distribution planning, fundraising, creating a trailer, schedule and budget development, and staffing (creative, technical, or otherwise).

Peer Readers: The Moving Image Fund’s Pre-production applications will be reviewed by a group of three peer readers, whose notes and recommendations will inform a final grant decision made by LEF staff. Peer readers at this stage are all New England-based filmmakers with at least 3-4 years of personal or professional experience in the field of documentary/non-fiction film, experimental non-fiction film/video, and/or hybrid documentary forms. Peer reviewers remain anonymous, change at every round, and are compensated with an honorarium for their time. Together, peer reviewers represent a diversity of perspectives on documentary. Nominations of new peer reviewers are accepted on a rolling basis from past LEF grantees and recent peer reviewers.

Before Applying: Before submitting a Pre-production application, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read our guidelines, details on how to apply, and frequently asked questions. After reading these instructions, if you have any questions about eligibility or how to apply, feel free to contact LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org and LEF Program Director Gen Carmel at gen@lef-foundation.org. You can also reach LEF New England staff at 617-492-5333.

 Application Deadline:

 

  • Friday, 16 August 2024 - 11:59pm

  (Notification of award decisions will be sent via e-mail by early October)

Application Requirements:
 Interested applicants should submit a completed application form via Submittable and a current work sample including any early/research footage from the project being proposed for Pre-production funding.
 

Fiscal Sponsorship:
 You are not required to have a confirmed fiscal sponsor at the time that you apply. However, this submission form does provide the option for you to share who your confirmed or potential fiscal sponsor will be. If you are awarded a grant, you must have a confirmed 501c3 fiscal sponsor in place in order to receive any grant funding. Find more details about locating a fiscal sponsor on our FAQ page, and reach out to us if you have other questions.

 Application Form Checklist:

  The application form asks for the following information, adapted from the Nonfiction Core Application:

 

  • Applicant Contact Information
  • Fiscal Sponsor Contact Information (optional, see above)
  • Project Title
  • Project Website (optional)
  • Estimated Running Time
  • Logline (Up to 50 words)
  • Story or Concept Summary (Up to 1000 words)
  • Artistic Approach  (Up to 1000 words)
  • Authorship: Access and Accountability (Up to 750 words)
  • Creative Control (Up to 50 words)
  • Community Care and Safety (Up to 750 words)
  • Accessibility (Up to 500 words)
  • Project Stage and Timeline (Up to 500 words)
  • Key Creative Personnel (Suggested Length: Up to 200 words per bio)
  • Budget Summary
  • Funding to Date (Up to 200 words)
  • Grant Impact (Up to 200 words)
  • Work Sample Information (see more details below)
  • Previous LEF Applicant Information (If you have previously applied to LEF for this project, you will be asked how your project has progressed since the time you last applied. If you are a previous grantee, please make sure you have sent a final report on your last funded project to LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org or completed the final report form here.)
  • Supplemental Materials (optional) (Including the résumés, filmographies, or short bios of key creative project personnel, a pitch deck or mood board for the current project, and/or relevant press clippings or PR material you would like to share about the film, filmmaker or subject matter of the film.)



  Work Sample:

 

  • Please submit up to 10 minutes of sample footage from the current project for review. We encourage applicants not to spend extra resources creating a sample for LEF if you've already created a sample for a different funder. Due to time constraints, reviewers are only required to watch up to 10 minutes of footage. If your current sample is longer than 10 minutes, please provide reviewers with the time codes for a portion of the sample that is up to 10 minutes and best reflects your intended style and approach (e.g., "3:15-12:15" or "Please watch 0:00-3:00 and then skip to 17:00-24:00"). 
  • The sample can include research/archival footage, character sketches, and/or rough scenes that best communicate your vision for the final project for which you are applying for funding. For example, the sample might demonstrate your access to participants/materials, visual treatment, and the developing tone and style. 
  • Work samples should be submitted in your application form as Vimeo links that will remain available to view online by peer reviewers through the duration of your application review timeline. 
  • To increase accessibility for the review process, applicants are strongly encouraged to create captions for their work samples. We recommend the “​​Subtitling, Captioning, and ASL Captioning Info and Services” section of FWD-Doc’s resources page for guidance on how to create captions, subtitles, and audio descriptions. 
  • You may also supplement this current work sample with a past work sample from a member of the current project’s creative team. 
  • Please complete all fields per work sample. Learn more about creating a LEF work sample on our How to Apply page.
     



 IMPORTANT - You may begin filling information on the submission form, leave and return later as many times as necessary to complete the form. However, you must hit the SAVE button at the end of the page before leaving. ONCE YOU SUBMIT THE FORM YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EDIT YOUR APPLICATION INFORMATION OR SUBMITTED FILES.

There is a 21 day limit on saved applications, which can be refreshed each time you re-save your application.

We recommend drafting and saving your work in an offline file, in case you encounter any issues when saving your work online.


Global Data Protection Regulation Consent:  By applying for this opportunity, you agree to allow LEF to use the information you provide to be in touch with you by phone or e-mail about updates on your application, to process this information in order to make a funding decision, and, if your project is selected for funding, to share your project's title, brief description and direction/production team members in our public Moving Image Fund grant directory and public grant announcement. If you are awarded a grant for a project that has sensitive subject matter, and would like to take additional measures to protect the privacy of those involved with the film, please contact LEF staff, and we would be happy to discuss this with you after an award decision is made.

 Trouble submitting? Contact Submittable at support@submittable.com or 855.467.8264.

 Proposal Questions? Contact LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org, or 617.492.5333.

LEF Foundation