Bankrolling a Blockbuster: Part 2 – Donations and Grants

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Bankrolling a Blockbuster: Part 2 – Donations and Grants

In Part 1 of this series, we dove into the exciting world of film finance by way of investments and securities.  In this Part 2, we’re going to explore another avenue of raising money for your movie: donations and grants.

People say there’s “no such thing as a free lunch”, but donations and grants may just be the next best thing.  This method of raising capital for your film solves your money problem without the additional strings that may come along with investments, as laid out in Part 1.

Donations and grants can come in various forms:

Individual Donors

As the old adage goes: “charity starts at home”.  Scour your network of family and friends for people who support your artistic ventures and are willing to put their money up to help you.  Perhaps besides a call on their birthday, you will not owe these donors anything, so you sidestep the securities issues we mentioned in Part 1.  But, a word to the wise: accepting money from loved ones can sometimes turn into a sticky situation.  Make sure to use your best judgment in selecting who to ask and for how much.  Be clear about how the money will be used and the extent of the donor’s participation.  That way, everyone is clear on their role going forward.

Foundational Grants

Many believe that foundational grants are limited to documentaries and educational films.  However, a quick Google search will show you many organizations looking to support filmmakers from every corner of the industry.  These grants usually require a lengthy application process, are often competitive and have strict deadlines.  Make sure to keep an eye out on the rules surrounding the program when deciding which one is right for you.  Things to look out for may include:

  • Whether the foundation is looking to support a specific population or subject matter;
  • If there are any limitations on how the grant money may be spent; and
  • That all-important deadline.

Donations[1] and grants are great ways to fund your film without giving too much control away.  However, they may not be available to every filmmaker or for every film.  In such cases, other options such as crowdfunding may be appropriate.  And wouldn’t you know it, that’s that topic of our next installment in this series!  Stay tuned for Part 3!

[1] It’s best practice to consult with an accountant or tax professional before accepting donations.

Anjana Puri

Associate Attorney

(212) 865-9848

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