Funding for interactive documentary projects is not always easy to find and there is often not a one-size-fits-all solution for every project. However as the field is becoming more established, more opportunities are emerging and an increasing amount of work is being funded.
Think creatively about funding
Break down your project into different stages. Think carefully about what you need for development funding, as further funding can be harder to get.
Think beyond ‘documentary’ funding – investigative journalism, technology, digital media, radio, games and transmedia funds could all be relevant, depending on what your project intends to do and how the interaction is realised. If you are working with community groups for example, you could also consider approaching charities or NGOs.
Consider distribution when mapping out your project. How long do you want your project to remain online for? How is the hosting covered? Are there options for co-production or distribution? News organisations are increasingly looking to either host or co-produce interactive work, particularly within the EU.
Crowdfunding is a a possible alternative, but could also be in addition to other traditional funding. It is a lot of work and can be a fruitless exercise if goals aren’t reached, but it can also stimulate an engaged audience before your work is even released.
This is an international list of available funding, so please read geographical eligibility requirements first.
Funding opportunities from Creative Media Desk Europe – media, culture, cross-sector and other EU funding.
Don’t miss another deadline! POV’s For Filmmakers calendar includes funding deadlines, calls for entries, festivals and other documentary events.
A list of US funding deadlines – although some grants accept international applications. Plus guidelines on putting together grant applications.
A huge list of resources, although many for traditional, linear projects. Also PDF resources on how to write proposals.
Year-round deadlines for a variety of international funding opportunities.
A calendar overview of what is happening in the international documentary industry with filters for specific searches. There is also a tailored newsletter available for members.
The most established crowdfunding sites for documentary are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Do your research – look at how other campaigns have been run, what was successful, what wasn’t. You can also see who campaigns have been run by, so it’s worth trying to contact people and ask for advice.
Find the data provides a breakdown of successful and unsuccessful projects by category, providing metrics in terms of engagement and funding. You can specifically search for interactive documentary projects.
The Quipu Project and Question Bridge are two examples of projects who exceeded their funding goals on Indigogo and Kickstarter respectively. However it’s important to note that neither project was relying on crowdfunding as their sole source of funding.