TFI Documentary Fund: Rules and Regulations

The TFI Documentary Fund furthers the development of exceptional character-driven, non-fiction works that spotlight contemporary themes with an original focus and bold, creative filmmaking. This fund allows TFI to fund many audience-grabbing genres that fall under the documentary umbrella including arts, sports, hybrid and experimental projects.

Grants of at least $10, 000 will be awarded in 2015. Grantees will be announced in early 2015.

For its third year, the TFI/ESPN PRIZE, will award one annual grant of $30,000 to a feature-length documentary work-in-progress (in development or production stage) that captures the human element of the sports world – and brings the dramatic stakes of competitiveness to vivid life. In short, the TFI/ESPN Prize-winning project will strive to change the way people perceive sports.

In order to qualify for the TFI Documentary Fund, entrants must comply with ALL of the following Rules and Eligibility Requirements. Failure to comply with these rules will render a submission ineligible:

  • Submissions must be feature-length documentaries with an intended length of at least 70 minutes and should creatively document unique character(s).
  • Submissions can be in the advanced stages of development, production or post-production (TFI/ESPN Prize projects excluded), but must not have aired on any form of television, been screened publicly or have been distributed in theatres or via the Internet prior to February 2015.
  • Submitted films must show enough footage to highlight character, unique access and storytelling ability.
  • Foreign language documentaries are eligible, but must be subtitled and suitable for an American audience.
  • Applicants must be over 18-years old.
  • Student films and documentary short films are not eligible for submission.
  • Applicants will be notified by February 2015 whether their films are awarded funding or not.

All submissions must include the following:

  • Applicants must complete the online application form (SUBMISSIONS CLOSED) and upload a thorough proposal to include:
    • A project description outlining the form and style of the film;
    • Bios of filmmaker(s) and key crew members;
    • Contact information for key crew members;
    • A concise timeline explaining the sequence of steps required for the completion of the eligible film;
    • A budget detailing how the requested funds will be used
  • Applicants must either submit two (2) DVD copies or provide an online link of an extended trailer (no shorter than 7 minutes), scene assemblage and/or a rough cut of the project that showcases ample footage that identifies the character(s) and, if possible, a suggestive storyline. If DVD’s are mailed, they should be labeled with submission number, project title, running time, applicants name and contact information. DVDs must be in NTSC format for Zone 0 and 1. PLEASE NOTE: If you provie links embedded onto your application, you must not take down your footage at any time through the submission process (September-February) or you will be disqualified. Please do not send previous work with your submission.
  • If DVD copies are mailed, the submissions must be shipped pre-paid, including any duties or customs fees.
  • Tribeca Film Institute will make every effort to safe-guard the materials submitted; however TFI will not be responsible for lost or stolen submissions. Submissions will not be returned.


September 5, 2014 – Submissions Open

November 5, 2014 – Submissions Close


There is no entry to apply for the TFI Documentary Fund.


All materials must be sent prepaid to:

Tribeca Film Institute
32 Ave of the Americas, 27th Fl
New York, NY 10013
Attn: TFI Documentary Fund
(212) 274-8080 x28

Entries will not be considered complete until all of the materials are received. All submissions must be postmarked within the entry deadline date.


Please read our Frequently Asked Questions

Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions regarding the entry process: or (212) 274-8080 x28.