The Jewish Film Institute’s Completion Grants Program provides finishing funds to emerging and established filmmakers for original stories that promote thoughtful consideration of Jewish history, life, culture, and identity. Launched in 2020, these juried Grants have awarded nearly $200,000 to date to twelve projects. Projects of interest are united by their, fresh, nuanced, and thought-provoking explorations of Jewish themes and their potential to entertain and engage us, turn conversation into action, and reframe understanding of Jewish cultures and identities. Projects may be features, shorts, episodic programs, or web series, with works in fiction, documentary, and animation eligible for consideration.
The Jewish Film Institute champions bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere. As the presenter of the annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), the world’s first and most revered event for independent Jewish storytelling, JFI celebrates the spirit of film, inquiry, independence, collaboration, community, and inclusion to support film’s evolution on big and small screens as an indispensable form of cultural communication that inspires personal and societal change. The Institute’s filmmaker services include the competitive, year-long Filmmaker Residency and the JFI Completion Grants, which provide finishing funds to jury-selected projects. Free, online programming includes a popular series of Monthly Online Shorts, the JFI On Demand streaming service, and the JFI Film Archive, a curatorial history of SFJFF.
- Grants are given only for completion; therefore, projects must be in the post-production phase with at least a rough cut. As the grants are highly competitive, no rough assemblies will be considered. Projects in development, script-development, pre-production, production, or early post-production will not be considered.
- Grants are given only to filmmakers with creative and financial control of the project. Applicant must hold artistic, budgetary, and editorial control and must own the copyright of the proposed project.
- In case of collaboration, a sole project director must be designated as the applicant.
- Applicants must be a U.S citizen or permanent resident, or have a U.S. producer, and be at least 18 years old.
- The applicant is required to be a filmmaker/member of the Jewish Film Institute or pay an entry fee of $35.
- Applicants do not need to be Jewish.
- The project makes a unique contribution to the body of films on Jewish history, life, culture and/or identity.
- The project reflects excellence and originality in storytelling and visual style, with high production values.
- The project has contemporary relevance.
- The project takes an innovative approach to the subject matter.
- The applicant and production team have the experience to complete the project.
- The proposal identifies a realistic plan for distribution, to reach its intended audience.
- The grant will make a critical contribution to the project’s completion.
- The project can realistically be completed based on the applicant’s post-production schedule, fundraising plans, personnel, and budget.
JFI pre-screeners will review all applications, preview sample works, and select semifinalists to be recommended to an independent panel. An independent panel of media professionals including producers, directors, programmers, academics, or other experts in the field will convene to collectively select the grant recipients. The names of the panelists will remain confidential until after the awards are announced at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Summer 2022.
JFI does not provide critiques, screening notes, or individual reviews of any films not chosen for completion grants.
Grant finalists will be asked to submit an invoice and sign a Letter of Agreement that requires:
- A signed Grantee Warranty at the time of the award notification if one has not already been provided.
- JFI will have the first option to present the Bay Area Premiere of the film.
- Grantee will acknowledge funding by the Jewish Film Institute and any JFI named Completion Award in onscreen and printed credits for the completed project.
- Grantee will update JFI staff on the status of the film at milestone moments, for JFI to report to stakeholders and elevate in communications.
- Grantee may not be a Jewish Film Institute employee or board member.
- Grantee may not be a full-time student.
- The project cannot be a work for hire.
- Only one application per project will be accepted.
- Industrial or promotional projects are ineligible.
JFI Completion Grants Program Application is a 7-part form. Finalists are required to submit a signed Grantee Warranty upon notification of finalist status. Awards will be announced at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Summer 2022.