TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The application for the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund consists of an online form (SUBMISSIONS NOW CLOSED) that must be completed and uploaded by the submission deadline. Footage must be embedded as links to your online application.

When is the submission deadline?

Submissions open from September 5, 2019 to November 5, 2019. 

Submissions close November 5, 2019 at 11:59PM EST.

What is the entry fee?

There is no entry fee to apply to the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund.

How many projects will be selected?

Up to six projects are selected annually.

When will I be notified about my application status?

All applicants will be notified via e-mail no later than March 1st 2020.

I do not have enough footage. Do I need footage to apply to the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund?

It depends. If a director is attached to the project, a minimum of 7 minutes of consecutive footage of previous work is required, but we encourage more. If there is no director attached, no footage is required.

All projects applying in development or pre-production, with no current footage available, may provide sample footage of a previous work.

Are treatments required? Do I need a full script or is a treatment sufficient?

Treatments of 2 - 4 pages in length are required. You do not need a full script, but they will happily be accepted.

Will my script and/or submission material be returned to me?

No, we will be unable to return any of your submitted materials.

Does the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund own the rights to my project if it is selected for the program?

No. We do request that, once your project moves into production, you include the Tribeca Film Institute logo in the closing credits along with the words: “Supported by the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund”.

What is an Artistic Statement?

The Artistic Statement is your opportunity to discuss your creative vision for your project. This is where you can speak of the tone and style of the project, and to the reasoning behind your creative choices with regards to subject matter, medium, setting, etc. It’s also the place to touch upon your motivation for telling this story and for how you’ve decided to tell it.

What kind of photo do I need for my application? How can I get it to you?

You should upload a photo that is at least 1200-1500 pixels in width or height (300 dpi), so that it’s attached to your application. While you definitely don’t need a professional headshot, you should upload a picture that you are comfortable seeing online and in print, as it may be used for promotional purposes if your project is selected. Be sure to name your photo ‘firstname_lastname.jpg’ before uploading it! We cannot accept photos by mail or e-mail.

I am a screenwriter, but no director is attached to my project yet. Do I qualify?

Yes. Eligible screenwriters are welcome to apply, regardless of whether or not a director is attached to their project at the time of application. TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund applications that do not have a director attached are not required to submit footage with their applications.

If my project is selected, do I need to attend the Tribeca Film Festival or TFI Network?

In the application process, your project will also be considered to participate in TFI Network during the Tribeca Film Festival. If accepted, the qualifying director or writer must be in attendance during that week of events in April 2020. Producers and other team members are also welcome and encouraged to attend scheduled events when noted. During the festival, TFI honors the year’s winners at a TFI/Sloan Celebration and hosts the TFI/Sloan Works-in-Progress Reading to a showcase selected projects for industry invitees.

I live outside of New York City. If I am accepted to attend TFI’s events at Tribeca Film Festival, will TFI cover my travel and accommodation?

TFI will provide a traveling stipend to assist in covering the cost of airfare and accommodation. The stipend may or may not cover the entire cost incurred for travel & accommodations during the duration of the program. Participants who receive a travel stipend will be responsible to arrange his/her own travel details. Participants are welcome to arrange their own accommodations to stay beyond the days programmed by the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund and make use of their festival accreditation.

Can I apply to other TFI programs?

Yes! Upon applying to the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, you will answer a number of preliminary questions that will determine if your project is also eligible for other programs open at that time. You need only to fill out one application per project.

Am I allowed to submit more than one project?

No. We encourage filmmakers to select their strongest project. You are, however, eligible to hold a different role on another applicant’s project.

Are there any stipulations on how I spend the grant if selected?

Participants may use the funding towards any stage of their project including pre-production, production, post production, and/or marketing.

Participants will work with the TFI Scripted Programs staff to create the best plan on how to spend the funds.

TFI reserves the right to withhold portions of the funding if, during a required update or review of the project, certain goals and guidelines previously set are not met.

Is my project eligible?

The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund provides grants and professional guidance in support of innovative and compelling scripted features or full-length pilot that offer a fresh take on scientific, mathematic and technological themes.

We support:

·       Scripted features or series of all genres that involve accurate and compelling science, technology or math or feature characters of those worlds.

·       US and International submissions.

·       Projects in all stages of production: from early development through post-production.

·       Experienced and emerging filmmakers from communities systematically excluded from the film industry.

We are unable to support:

·       Documentaries, short films, student projects or science-fiction/fantasy films.

·       Films based upon inaccurate or implausible science.

·       Films that have already had a theatrical release or premiered at a film festival.

What are some examples of films that would qualify for funding?

I’ve applied before but was not selected for funding.  Can I apply again?

Absolutely. We encourage applicants to re-apply, particularly if they can demonstrate progress made with the project since the last application.

I received a Sloan award through a different funding body (Film Independent, The Hamptons, Sundance, University) – Can I apply again?

Yes. If you can demonstrate measurable progress since your project was supported, you can absolutely apply again. Several Sloan-awarded projects were supported repeatedly at various stages as they progressed towards completion.

How does the selection process work? How many projects will be selected?

Initial rounds of evaluation will be conducted by the Tribeca Film Institute staff, while final grantee selections will be made by an Awards Committee comprised of noteworthy professionals from the science and film industries. The Fund will award grants ranging from $10,000 - $75,000.

Where can I find additional answers to questions?

You will find more information about the application process in our Rules and Regulations. Our staff will be happy to answer any other questions or concerns you may have. Please contact us at

Do I have to live in New York City? The United States?

We are open to filmmakers from all over the world -- you do not need to be a US citizen or a New York City resident. We have grantees from different cities, states and countries and are able to work with them remotely and in-person during select events such as the Tribeca Film Festival.

Please note that all applications and materials submitted must be in English, and any films projects in a language other than English must subtitled for English-speaking audiences.

Why do I need a Scientific Statement?

The scientific statement gives context to your project within the guidelines of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund. This is where you can speak to the scientific content of your film, its accuracy, and to the work you’ve done to date or plan to do as your project progresses towards completion. Please include ideas for scientific mentors you believe would be a long-term asset to your project. 

Do you need a budget from me? Why?

If your project has progressed to pre-production or beyond, we may request a budget, top-sheet or summary from you. An actual or estimated budget top-sheet is preferred, and the more detailed a budget you can provide, the better. These allow TFI staff and the Awards Committee to more accurately evaluate your project and the strength of your plans for seeing it realized.

Can I e-mail you my submission materials?

No. We require that you upload any documents so that they are linked with your online application. However, project footage, director’s samples, and completed films may be uploaded or sent by DVD as detailed on the application and in the Rules & Regulations.

What if there are developments with my project after I submit it?

Please keep us posted about new project developments by emailing with the subject “UPDATE: Project Title”. Depending on how far along we are in the review process, we will do our best to take developments into consideration. That said, once submissions close, new drafts, additional footage or new cuts will not be reviewed until an applicant is made a finalist.

Can I apply to other TFI programs, such as Tribeca All Access?

Yes! If your project meets the criteria for another TFI program, you are welcome to apply for it.

If my project is selected to the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, will it screen at the Tribeca Film Festival?

Not necessarily. Filmmakers with completed films seeking to apply to the Tribeca Film Festival should fill out a separate application by visiting Acceptance to the one does not indicate acceptance to the other.