The Academy FilmWatch Grants Program Accepting Applications

FilmWatch grants support curated screening programs at North America-based film festivals, film societies and other film-related organizations. Targeted programs include those that create culturally diverse viewing experiences, promote motion pictures as an art form, provide a platform for underrepresented artists, and cultivate new and dedicated audiences for theatrical film.

Proposals must be submitted through the Academy’s online application system by January 15, 2021

Grants awarded during this funding cycle are for programs that will be initiated and completed between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. All applicants will be notified (via e-mail) of their proposal status in March 2021. Funds will be distributed in March 2021.

All application requirements are contained within the online application.


Through the Grants program, the Academy seeks to:

  • Promote diversity
  • Bridge the opportunity divide
  • Attract and engage broad new audiences for theatrical motion pictures
  • Provide a platform for underrepresented artists, the full range of film genres, and a variety of viewpoints and approaches
  • Encourage filmmaking as a vocation
  • Illuminate less visible aspects of filmmaking and the film industry through scholarly research, presentations and discussions

Please keep these principles in mind as you proceed through the application process, as we direct our support toward organizations and programs that are aligned with these principles.     We consider programs that seek to:

  • Nurture theatrical motion pictures in all categories and genres, including silent, ethnic (African/Latino/Asian/Native Peoples), LGBT, short, documentary, animated, and experimental films
  • Provide underrepresented filmmakers greater access to audiences
  • Engage and develop new and dedicated film audiences, especially those from diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds

FilmWatch grants DO NOT fund:

  • Programming centered on the screening of any particular new film
  • Competitions or awards programs
  • The screening of works produced specifically for television or nontheatrical media, or events or programs that focus on such works
  • Programs targeting children less than 12 years of age
  • Parties, receptions, luncheons, tribute dinners or similar events; hospitality suites and services
  • The development, production or completion of films
  • Capital expenses
  • Administrative, overhead or permanent staffing expenses
  • More than 50 percent of a program’s cost (some exceptions for small programs)
  • Individuals or for-profit companies or organizations
  • Programs at any one institution for more than three consecutive years


Grants are available only to North America-based film festivals, film societies and other film-related organizations for curated screening programs. Grants must be used to support a specific program or program component.   Applying organizations must:

  • Have nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application
  • Apply directly on its own behalf (fiscal sponsors for U.S.-based organizations are not allowed)
  • Have a five-year history of programming
  • Submit complete, punctual final reports for all Academy grants received, and maintain an excellent submission record (see below for details)

Due to the popularity of the program, organizations will be limited to one grant application per cycle. Keep in mind that only 20-25% of applicants receive funding.  Parent and subsidiary organizations are considered a single entity.


The Academy requires that all organizations that receive grants properly acknowledge their Academy funding. Failure to do so will have a negative impact on their future consideration.

If there are appropriate venues or opportunities to acknowledge the Academy’s financial support of your program, the Academy requires that the acknowledgments be made. These venues and opportunities include:

  • Prominent placement of the Academy’s name (“Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences”) and logo in ads and other promotional materials
  • A press release announcing the Academy’s grant, and mention of the grant in subsequent press releases or articles about the funded program
  • Display of Academy banners at the program (available for loan from the Academy)
  • Projection of the Academy trailer or on-screen slide at screenings or other events
  • Verbal acknowledgment to audiences and assembled guests

When available, the following should also be provided:

  • Full-page ad in the festival/event program, brochure or magazine
  • Recognition on festival/event banners and signage
  • Prominent recognition (the Academy logo is preferred) on any trailer or on-screen slide produced specifically for the festival/event
  • Ability to display an Academy banner or similar signage at the festival/event
  • A certain number of festival/event guest passes and reception invitations
  • All other benefits offered to other sponsors at the equivalent level

In lieu of or in addition to the placement of the Academy logo, the following acknowledgment line may be used: Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Please note: All grants are awarded with the understanding that the Academy has discretion over the type and degree of recognition it receives from the grant recipient.


A final report is required from all organizations that receive an Academy FilmWatch grant. Reapplying organizations whose current programs will not be complete before new proposals are due also must submit an interim report.   Final reports are due after the program has been completed. Interim reports are due on the same date as new proposals.   All reports must be submitted via separate online forms on the Academy’s website. They must include:

  • A description of the program
  • A discussion of how the program created a genuinely inclusive environment.
  • The number of participants/audience members, and their demographics
  • The impact of the program
  • A description of how the Academy grant increased the program’s effectiveness
  • An analysis of the outcomes you were seeking, including why they were or were not achieved
  • Any anecdotal evidence describing how individuals received your program
  • Results or findings from research you undertook or participant/audience surveys you may have fielded
  • A breakdown of how program was marketed, the kinds of outreach you did, and their effectiveness
  • The way(s) in which the Academy grant was acknowledged
  • A final budget breakdown



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