What Catapult Funds

The Catapult Development Grant gives early support to propel projects forward that hold the promise of a story that should be uniquely told in film. We provide development funding, up to $20,000, to documentary filmmakers who have a strong story to tell, have secured access, and are ready to create a fundraising piece to help unlock critical production funding. We enable filmmakers to develop their projects to the next level, at the early stage when funding is hard to find. We support powerful and moving storytelling, by filmmakers with a strong voice across a broad spectrum of subject matter. 

The Development Grant is currently closed and will re-open on January 1st, 2021. 

The Catapult Research Grant is the newest expansion of Catapult Film Fund’s on-going commitment to develop nonfiction films and filmmakers. Our new program seeks to develop the voices of diverse filmmakers by providing five $10,000 grants plus six months of mentorship and professional development. The grant is open to US-based filmmakers only.

The Research Grant has been extended to Friday December 4th at 5pm PST.

Catapult gives early support through development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a strong story to tell, have secured access, and are ready to create a fundraising piece to help unlock critical production funding.

If your project is in production, post-production, has a trailer, or is looking for funding other than for development, it is likely further along than what we fund and we encourage you to read through the FAQs on our website before applying.

Catapult Film Fund accepts Documentary Core Application questions 1, 3, and 4 in our application. Required supplemental questions are in the "Fundraising Strategy and Grant Impact" section as well as at the end of the application. 

For additional questions, email us at info@catapultfilmfund.org or call 415-738-8553 and leave a voicemail.


  • Applicants must be 18-years of age or older. Catapult does not fund student films.
  • Documentaries must be 28 minutes or longer in length. We do not fund series. 
  • Animation is okay. Documentary/narrative hybrids will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Development funds must specifically be used for the process of completing a fundraising piece, which may include writing, shooting and editing once story and characters are in place.
  • Applicants must own the copyright of their production, and have artistic, budgetary and editorial control over their project.
  • Applicants should preferably have previous film or television production experience in a principal role (director, co-director, producer, co-producer) as demonstrated by submitting previously completed work sample. Applicants who have not yet produced or directed their own feature length documentary should demonstrate that they will be working with an experienced filmmaker in a principal role.
  • Catapult only makes grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. In most cases, this will mean getting a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for the project. A film production company or individual, including applicants from outside the US, may submit an application without a fiscal sponsor in place. Once a project is chosen to receive a Catapult grant, the applicant will need to submit documentation from a fiscal sponsor before the grant can be processed.

 What we are looking for

  • Creative, artful, compelling and innovative storytelling techniques
  • Strong story narrative at the core of the film
  • A unique perspective or approach; use of humor a plus Contemporary relevance
  • Feasibility of the project with respect to its budget, financing, schedule and scope
  • Demonstrated ability of the creative team to have implemented previous projects
  • Grant amount should have significant impact on development stage of the project
  • Emphasis on the story not the lesson or agenda of the filmmaker
  • Filmmaker’s must demonstrate credible access and rapport with the proposed subject(s) of the story. Originality of form, approach or content Potential of the project to generate public discourse and social engagement

Catapult Film Fund