2020 SHIFT Creative Fund FAQs

Everything you need to know about the 2020 Creative Fund. More questions? Email us at creativefund@shift.io.


When do applications open?

Applications for our 2020 grant offering are currently postponed. Please sign up for our email newsletter on the homepage to stay updated on the application timeline!

What will I need to submit with my application?

Our application process is designed to give our readers and judges a complete idea of not only the script itself but how you plan to tackle the creative process. Among other requirements, you must submit a completed script, top-line budget, creative/artistic statement, and links to previous work. Other elements such as information about your creative team, general production schedule, and visual treatment are also highly recommended.

What kind of films are allowed to be submitted?

We are specifically offering funding for narrative short films, not documentary or feature-length projects. Technically speaking, anything under 40 pages is considered a short, though we suggest scripts that are 20 pages or less.

Do the films need to be of a specific style or genre?

As long as they are narrative and they are short, any style or genre is welcome. Drama, comedy, horror, romance, animation, or any combination that you can imagine — we love to see things we’ve never seen before.

What is the grant amount?

We are constantly growing our grant pool through contributions from sponsors and grant partners. Grants will be awarded on an as-needed basis, so the top-line budget submitted in your application should indicate how much total funding you need to produce your film. While we accept all budget amounts, we strongly suggest that submitted budgets be between $5,000 and $40,000.

How are the applications judged?

Applications are judged in three stages. Our team of readers takes the first pass to decide semifinalists. We may ask filmmakers on the shortlist to participate in a phone or video interview to answer any questions about their application. Semifinalists will then participate in a social voting window, where we ask the general public which project most excites them. Winners of the social vote will automatically be pushed to our finalist round, along with any other projects that our readers determine to be of the highest quality. Finalists will be presented to a judging panel of industry leaders who will make final determinations on the winning projects.

When are grants awarded

Grants are awarded approximately three months after the application window closes. The application window is currently postponed for 2020, we will be announcing an updated timeline as soon as possible!

Do winners get anything besides funding?

Yes! We’re working with our sponsors and partners to offer in-kind services to filmmakers along with grant funds. Services may include free or discounted camera and production equipment, music licensing, location rentals, and post-production services among other options.

Who owns the film upon completion?

Filmmakers retain full rights to their films. We require certain credits be included in the final cut of the film to SHIFT and the SHIFT Creative Fund, along with a digital licence that allows SHIFT to showcase the film online after its run in any festival circuits.

Is there a specific time period in which the grant money must be used?

We host a showcase screening for all of our winning filmmakers each year, so post production must be complete at least one week before the screening event. Depending on the timeline of applications, our screening event usually takes place 6-7 months after grants are awarded.

Are there restrictions on who can apply?

While filmmakers may be based anywhere around the world, we are only able to pay grant funding into a U.S. based bank or financial institution. International filmmakers must have a U.S. based bank and/or U.S. based legal entity (LLC) to receive grant funding. We welcome filmmakers of any age, race, gender identity, or religious group.

Can students apply?

Yes. However, your film cannot be tied to a specific class or school project or receive school credit.

Do I need a team to apply?

Not necessarily. We want to make sure our filmmakers have a plan for success and will know how to bring their project to life if awarded a grant. Whether you always work with the same team or plan to build a new team from scratch to make your project happen, make sure you tell us about it in your application.

What kind of filmmmaker experience is required?

You must have at least some filmmaking experience before applying to the SHIFT Creative Fund. Whether you’ve made student films, music videos, web series, commercials, or feature-length films in the past, illustrate that you have the skills and previous experience to bring your film to life. All applicants will be asked to provide links to their previous work with their application.

What is Creative Fund's relationship with SHIFT?

SHIFT believes in supporting the creative process of all content creators. The SHIFT platform, along with our other products (Wiredrive, MediaSilo, and Screeners.com), gives creators the tools they need to spend more time creating and less time managing. The SHIFT Creative Fund is an extension of our philosophy that all people should have the opportunity to make their best creative work. It’s funded by SHIFT with the support of our grant sponsors.

Are adapted works, such as a short story, novel, or article adapted to film, allowed?

It is your responsibility to ensure you have all legal rights to any submitted film project. Adaptations with appropriate legal rights procured are more than welcome.

Can I submit more than one application?

We have limited our applications to one film per applicant. If you have several film projects in the works, identify your best project for submission. If you’re working with a creative team, other members may submit projects under their name.