Posted: Jun 15, 2018
The Ford Foundation seeks to reduce inequality in all of its forms, and artist-driven documentary and emerging media projects are crucial to this effort. As part of the Creativity and Free Expression program, JustFilms funds social justice storytelling and the 21st-century arts infrastructure that supports it. The projects and people we support inspire imaginations, disrupt stereotypes, and help transform the conditions that perpetuate injustice and inequality.
We believe that artist-driven moving image storytelling is vital to the pursuit of justice and equity in the 21st century. To flourish, storytellers and their networks need aligned creative, financial, and professional support, as well as distribution systems that enable them to reach a wide range of audiences. Historically, the field of independently produced film and emerging media has been under-resourced—and affordable, reliable access to the work for audiences remains a challenge.
To address this, JustFilms supports ideas, individuals, institutions, and networks that work to reduce inequality through film, video, and emerging media platforms, with a special focus on documentary practices. We strive to increase resources in the field, develop artists as leaders, and connect storytellers with the tools and talent they need to do their best work, amplify their message, and extend the impact of their projects.
JustFilms projects are inspired by courageous individuals and undaunted communities seeking justice. These powerful stories expand opportunities for civic engagement and affirm the central role of cultural strategies in social transformation. Our strategy is informed by the foundation’s long history of supporting independent documentary film, public media institutions, artists, and freedom of expression—all of which have had a profound effect on the public consciousness.
We support independent, documentary film, video, and emerging media projects that explore timely social justice issues, with a focus on reducing inequality. We also fund organizations, individuals, and networks that raise the quality and extend the impact of these projects.
JustFilms supports independent film and emerging media projects that explore urgent social justice issues and seek to challenge inequality in all its forms. We also support the organizations and networks that help further these projects. Funds are distributed in two areas, social justice storytelling and 21st-century infrastructure, which together aim to transform pervasive narratives that produce and maintain inequality, and attract more resources for artist-driven creative visual storytelling around the world.
Considerations when applying for grants
JustFilms accepts letters of inquiry for grants year round, averaging between 800 and 1,000 inquiries. Our funds are limited, and we are able to support only a small percentage of these projects through direct grants. JustFilms strongly advises that you use the priorities and guiding application questions below to determine whether your project might be competitive in this process. Please note that JustFilms also makes partnership grants, which are allocated as JustFilms partners described here. We invite you to explore whether your project might be better suited for support through one of these partners.
All projects submitted for JustFilms grants will be judged on the basis of
Potential for strategic impact
Alignment with Ford priorities
Potential to transform stereotypes, beliefs, and value systems
Creativity and innovation in form
Focus on vulnerable population
To apply for a grant
Please note that we have very limited staffing and therefore regret that we cannot respond to each applicant directly. We do not have the capacity to respond individually to phone calls or e-mails asking about the status of your application. Upon review of your materials by Ford staff, you may receive an invitation for a full proposal. If you do not hear from JustFilms within 30 business days of submitting your application, your project has not advanced in consideration. If you are contacted for further information, the entire review and decision process may take between 30 and 50 business days, given a number of variables specific to each grant.