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's Moving Image Fund (MIF) 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.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 supported over 300 independent filmmaker projects with approximately $4 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



  •  Projects must be long format; running times of 40 minutes or more.
  •  Primary creative personnel (director and/or producer) must reside in New England.
  •  Priority will be given to smaller scale projects with budgets under $400,000.
  •  Students enrolled in degree-granting programs may not apply.
  •  Multi-channel or installation work will not be considered.
  •  Applicants MUST have a fiscal sponsor (a nonprofit with a 501[c]3 designation from the federal government) that has agreed to manage the fiscal activity of the grant.
  •  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. 

The next LEF Moving Image Fund deadline will be Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:59pm (midnight) for applicants seeking pre-production funding. 

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 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.  

Pre-production Grants

A maximum of (6) grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to projects in the pre-production phase for a June 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, and schedule  and budget development. 

The Moving Image Fund’s pre-production applications will be reviewed internally by staff, and filmmakers will be notified of funding decisions in July. 

Prior to submitting a pre-production application, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read our guidelines and frequently asked questions, and to contact the LEF New England office to determine whether the film is eligible and a good fit for LEF's funding priorities. 

Application Deadline:

  • Friday, 7 June 2019 - 11:59pm

 (Notification of award decisions will be sent via USPS and e-mail by mid July)


Interested applicants should submit a completed form (click on the Submit button below) with required attachments. 

Note: Please keep descriptions brief.

Application Checklist

The application form asks for the following information:

  • Applicant Contact Information
  • Fiscal Sponsor Contact Information
  • Project Title
  • Project Website (optional)
  • Estimated Running Time
  • Log Line (Suggested Length: Approximately 2-3 sentences)
  • Story Summary/Synopsis (Suggested Length: Approximately 1-2 pages)
  • Artistic Approach  (Suggested Length: Approximately ½ page)
  • Topic Summary/Relevance (Suggested Length: Approximately 1-2 pages)
  • Project Stage and Timeline (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph)
  • Key Creative Personnel (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph/short bio - approximately 50-150 words - each)
  • Distribution and Marketing Strategy (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph)
  • Intended Audience (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph)
  • Audience Engagement and Social Impact (IF APPLICABLE) (Suggested Length: Approximately 1-2 paragraphs)
  • Fundraising Strategy and Grant Impact (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph)
  • Funding to Date (Potential, Pending, Secured)
  • Amount Requested / Grant Impact (Suggested Length: Approximately 1 paragraph)
  • Budget Upload
  • Work Sample Information and Link
  • Previous LEF Support Information. If you are a previous grantee, please make sure you have  sent a final report on your last funded project to LEF Program Director Sara Archambault at The final report form is here.

 Work Sample

  • Please submit up to 10 minutes of sample footage from the current project for review. If your sample is longer than 10 minutes in length, please  specify which 10 minutes the jury should prioritize when viewing. If you don't specify the time segment, the first 10 minutes will be reviewed. The sample can include research footage, character sketches, rough edited scenes, and/or a trailer. Sample work should be submitted via a DOWNLOADABLE Vimeo link or on a DVD (clearly labeled with the applicant's name, date, and title of the work). Send DVDs to the LEF Foundation, PO Box 382066, Cambridge, MA 02238. You may also supplement this current work sample with a sample from a completed past work for review, if relevant to the style or execution of the current project. Please complete all fields per work sample. Any DVDs must arrive in the LEF office on the deadline.

Additional Materials to Submit

In addition to filling out the application form, you will be asked to submit the following:

  • (Required): Budget Form: A two-page budget for your project that indicates total costs for pre-production, production, and post-production. Please show which line items will be covered by LEF funding. You may use your own budget form and/or the LEF Budget Template here.
  • (Required) One copy of fiscal sponsor organization's 501(c) 3 letter of tax-exemption status from the IRS. Find more details about fiscal sponsorship on our FAQ page.
  • (Optional) Supplementary Material: The resumes, filmographies, or short bios of key creative personnel and/or relevant press clippings or PR material you would like to share about  the film, filmmaker or subject matter of the film 

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.
Trouble submitting? Contact Submittable at or 855.467.8264.
Proposal Questions? Call Genevieve Carmel at LEF New England 617.492.5333 or email

LEF Foundation