LEF Foundation

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

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. For the past 20 years, LEF has hosted an external panel process that invites non-fiction filmmakers and professionals from a diversity of perspectives in the field to evaluate and make decisions on LEF's Production and Post-production applications. In 2020, LEF expanded these efforts by inviting three New England-based peer readers to review all Pre-production grant applications. In 2021, all Early Development and 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 reviewers remain anonymous, change at every round, and are compensated with an honorarium for their time. Nominations of new peer reviewers are accepted on a rolling basis from past LEF grantees and recent peer reviewers.

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 400 grants to New England-based independent filmmakers with approximately $4.2 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).
  • Students enrolled in degree-granting programs may not apply.
  • Multi-channel or installation work will not be considered.
  • LEF no longer requires 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, please click here for important eligibility 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.


2021 Moving Image Fund Deadlines

  • The next Production & Post-production LEF Moving Image Fund deadline is Friday, January 22, 2021 at 11:59pm (midnight) Eastern. The submission forms open in November, 2020.   
  • The next Early Development & Pre-Production LEF Moving Image Fund deadline is Friday, June 4, 2021 at 11:59pm (midnight) Eastern. The submission forms open in April, 2021. 

Documentary Core Application

Because the LEF Moving Image Fund has adapted its submission forms from the Documentary 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 Documentary Core Application website.  


LEF Foundation