The 2015 Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund grants will be open for applications in September, with a deadline in October, and grants awarded in November. Please check back then for more details. 

Rooftop Films sets aside $1 from every ticket sold and every submission fee received and gives it to alumni filmmakers in the form of grants for their film productions. Only filmmakers who have screened a movie at Rooftop Films' festival are eligible for grants.  

In the Summer 2014 round we have four grants for artists making short films (under 50 minutes) and five grants for feature-length films (over 50 minutes). Click  here for feature film guidelines.

If you are an eligible filmmaker and plan on applying, please RSVP as soon as possible by clicking on this link and filling out a simple form. This way we can gauge how many applicants to expect and will know to look for your application, lest it get lost in some way.

Rooftop Films LogoFor the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant, we will award grants ranging from $500-3,000 to male and female filmmakers. We will give grants to 3-6 projects, totaling $15,166.00. 


DOMICILE Logo DOMICILE is a boutique post facility located on Clinton Street in the heart of the Lower East Side in NYC. Upon receiving its Dolby certification for theatrical mixing, Domicile opened for business in January 2013. For audio needs from A-Z and video post, Domicile offers top-level talent and the latest technology, in a laid back, homey environment. Clients include IFC, ITVS, A&E, HBO and PBS. Domicile also caters to the independent film and television producer.

For this grant, Domicile will provide a complete Dolby 5.1 Mix for one short film.

DCTV Logo Founded in 1972, DCTV is an established media arts resource for NYC’s independent filmmaking community. DCTV provides affordable workshops, production equipment rentals, post-production facilities, a signature screening series, renowned youth programming, and more – all under the same roof as its award-winning documentary production house. DCTV Equipment Rentals is one of the only rental houses that does not require production insurance and is open 7 days a week, striving to make otherwise expensive pro camera, lighting and audio gear accessible. DCTV Workshops provide over 200 hands-on workshops in video production, post-production, producing, and graphic & web design each year, taught by industry professionals in an intimate and interactive environment.

For this grant, DCTV will provide 2-3 weeks of production equipment and workshop enrollment to two filmmakers.

Adrienne Shelly Foundation LogoThe Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation's advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. Reflecting Adrienne's spirit, generosity, courage and whimsy, its goal is to recognize the passion and commitment of women artists in creating their work, and provide them with support and guidance during periods of transition and struggle.

For this grant, ASF will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. 

Who is eligible? (important) 
What is the history of the grant?

Other frequently asked questions and general advice. (Please read! We're telling you how to write a great application!)

What we have:
• $3,000 as one cash grant for a female director.
• $ 12,166.00as 3-6 cash grants for any filmmakers. Minimum grant: $500. Maximum grant: $3,000. 
• Two $5,000 credits for DCTV equipment, services or classes. Available gear includes cameras, lights, sound recording. 
• Possible access to a Final Cut Pro workstation (in Brooklyn, NY).
• Possible crew from Rooftop staff, including: an editor, a documentary DOP, a still photographer, a composer, a sound engineer/editor, a line producer.
• Possible interns, volunteers, PAs. 


Selection Criteria:
We are open to any genre or type of film, but in choosing our grantees, we are biased toward: 

• People who we can be confident will actually produce another movie with these resources. 
• People who do not have access to other resources. 
• People who use money and materials sparingly and wisely. 
• Films that are daring, unique, intelligent, soulful, honest, brilliant.
• Short films of any and all genres which operate outside mainstream, feature film traditions and aesthetics. 
•  Films with women and people of color in primary production roles. 
•  Films that are socially responsible: whether documentaries or fiction, drama or comedy, experimental or animation, we admire films that are thoughtful, well-researched, well-reasoned and that actively seek to change our world for the better. 
•  These are NOT requirements, just qualities we value. We fund many films that do not fall into those categories, from comedies to experimental films, films with big budgets and small, films by all types of people. If it's moving pictures by our alums, and it's going to be great, we want to support it.)

Crucial elements:
• We need to be convinced that you will make this film as it as presented and in a timely fashion. If you can provide a production schedule and convincing reasons as to why you will adhere to it, that’s great. 
• We often fund specific line items in your budget, so the more specific you can be, the better. 
• We will fund any element of pre-production, production or post-production. 
• We are more likely to fund films for which this grant will have a large impact. That is, we are more likely to fund $3,000 of a $3,000 total budget than $3,000 of a $30,000 total budget. (Though we will provide funds for bigger budget films, too.)
• We are more likely to fund films where there is thought to how the film will be used in the world in coordination with a community engagement campaign and/or ongoing efforts for social justice.
• We are also more likely to fund films that make the most of their resources and community. For instance, we are more likely to fund the salary of a DP who is donating use of his own 16mm camera than we are likely to fund the rental of a 16mm camera from a corporate rental house. We are also more likely to fund the purchase or fabrication of materials that you will be able to use again, instead of a one-time rental.
• That said, those are guidelines, not requirements, and we will fund films of any budget, scale or production means. Most of all, we want to support great cinema in crucial ways. 

Please read our FAQ and ADVICE section. All filmmakers are encouraged to email Rooftop Artistic Director Mark Elijah Rosenberg at filmfund [at] rooftopfilms [dot] com with a draft of their application for advice, or call 718-417-7362. When asking for advice, please focus on specific questions. We can only really advise how to make your application more clear, or offer personal non-binding advice on the filmmaking. The advice we most often give is to descibe what we will see on screen more clearly. Due to time constraints, we can only provide one round of notes, and cannot guarantee feedback in the final week before the deadline, but simple questions are welcome any time. 

Selection Process:
The grants will be decided by a panel made up of Rooftop Films staff, founders and invited panelists, including staff from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation and DCTV. There may be things we would want to see changed in the proposed project, or we may want to participate in the production in order to provide funding. If you are not comfortable with our suggestions, there will be an opportunity to tell us if a second round comes into play. There will likely be follow-up questions, but no formal second round of applications.

How to Apply:
Download the essay questions and the budget form for the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grants. The application for male and female filmmakers is the same. Female filmmakers will be automatically eligible for both grants. The application asks for the following information:

        • Your name and contact information.
        • A description of the film you want to make.
        • A production plan.
        • A budget. (Use our form or your own.)
        • What you want from us.
        • A few lines about yourself.

1. If you plan on applying, please fill out this quick RSVP form, so we know how many applications we might be expecting and we can keep an eye out for your application.

2. Complete the online Short Film Grant Application Form

   2a. Use the Short application if your film is less than 50 minutes and you are applying for a short film grant; use the Feature application if your film is over 50 minutes and you are applying for a feature film grant.

   2b. If you are applying with more than one film, fill out a separate application, essay questions, and budget form for each film.

3. You are also welcome and encouraged to send footage, rough cuts, fine cuts, etc. in any format. Online links are preferred (password protection is acceptable). Please include a link and password in your application form. If you must send a DVD, please contact us at

4. You cannot edit this form once you submit. We strongly recommend you fill out a copy your application in a separate document and save that for reference.

Applications must be received by 11:59pm on August 9, 2014.
Applicants notified: no later than October 1, 2014.

Payments / Reporting:
If you are awarded a grant, you will be expected to file one simple progress report and one simple completion report, which we will send to you at the appropriate times. You will need to sign a grant contract before receiving support. You can read a full copy of the contract here. The key provisions are:

• The filmmaker must produce the film as outlined, to the best of their ability.
• The filmmaker must produce the film within 18 months of the grant award.
• Funds and services will not allocated immediately, but for specific services as needed.
• The filmmaker must allow Rooftop Films the right to screen the film within 12 months of the official world premiere, before theatrical or TV release and preferably before any New York screenings.

Good luck! We’re excited to hear about your films, and to help them get made and get screened on the roof.

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.