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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. 
  • Applicants needing assistance to accommodate a disability may request an accommodation at any time. To request reasonable assistance for completing the application, please contact info@catapultfilmfund.org or leave a message at 415-738-8553.


  • 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

The Development Grant is open and accepting applications on a rolling basis. Please note the review process is 3-4 months. More FAQs.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.