TFI Documentary Fund: Rules and Regulations


Rules and Regulations

The TFI Documentary Fund supports and 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 financially support many audience-grabbing genres that fall under the documentary field.

Grants of at least $10,000 will be awarded. 

In order to qualify for the TFI Documentary Fund, entrants must satisfy all of the following Rules and Eligibility Requirements. Failure to meet any of these criteria will render a submission ineligible:

  • Submitted projects must have no North American theatrical or digital distribution partners in place. (For more information, please refer to the FAQ’s page)
  • Submitted projects must be feature-length documentaries with an intended length of at least 67 minutes and should creatively present and depict unique character(s).
  • Submitted projects may be in the advanced stages of development, production or post-production, 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 selection.
  • Submitted projects should show sufficient footage to demonstrate the potential character, unique access and storytelling ability of the finished project. If footage of current project is not available, it is mandatory to submit a previous work as a sample.
  • Foreign language documentaries are eligible, but they 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. However, grad theses being turned into feature films are eligible (See FAQ).
  • Applicants will be notified whether their films are awarded funding or not.

All submissions must include the following:

  • Applicants must complete the online application and upload a thorough proposal, both of which should 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 mail two (2) DVD copies or provide a footage sample URL (teaser/trailer, scene selects, rough assembly) of the project that showcases and 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: We strongly encourage all applicants to include a footage sample URL in their application in lieu of mailing DVD’s. If you provide links embedded onto your application, you must not take down your footage at any time through the submission process or you will be disqualified.
  • 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.

There is no entry fee to apply.

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.