How to Apply

FAQs for the Catapult Development Grant:

What is the deadline?

We do not currently have a deadline, so you may apply at anytime. Please note the review process is 3-4 months.

What is a 501c3 fiscal sponsor? Can I apply if I don’t have one?

A 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor allows projects to accept grants and tax-deductible donations under the fiscal sponsor’s tax exempt status. Catapult only makes grants to a project’s US based 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. There are many organizations in the US that provide this service. Applicants do not need a fiscal sponsor in place to apply and not having one confirmed will not be counted against your application. Grantees will need a fiscal sponsor in order to receive the funds.

Are you accepting applications?

Yes! We accept applications on a rolling basis. You may apply at anytime. It takes 3-4 months for us to review applications.

What kinds of projects is Catapult interested in funding?

Catapult Film Fund looks for powerful stories with central characters that weave a strong narrative. The project should be motivated first by story. Some types of films, such as survey, are less likely to be a good fit for Catapult, but we are always open to creative approaches.

What do you consider “development” for the purposes of the application?

Once you have a secure idea for your film, have done the initial research to determine its feasibility, have a sense of, and access to, your central characters and have figured out a compelling narrative to tell your story, you are ready to apply. Some projects have original material already, others don’t. That’s fine. If you already have an edited piece that you are using for fundraising, or are well into production, you are likely too far along for a Catapult grant. If you’re not sure, please feel free to contact us before applying. The purpose of the grant is to create this fundraising piece.

Do you accept applicants outside the US?

Yes! We accept applications internationally. Please note that Catapult only makes grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. In most cases, this will mean getting a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for the project. A fiscal sponsor allows projects to accept grants and tax-deductible donations under the fiscal sponsor’s tax exempt status. There are many organization in the US that provide this service for national and international projects. A film production company or individual, including applicants from outside the US, may submit an application without a fiscal sponsor in place. Once a project is chosen to receive a Catapult grant, the applicant will need to submit documentation from a fiscal sponsor before the grant can be processed.

What kind of prior work samples do you want to see?

Send in what you think best supports your application for the current project. Please send in the long-form and include the work’s title and how it does, or does not, relate to your current project.

Can I apply with more than one project?

We do not fund more than one film by the same director at the same time. Because the application takes time to complete and go through the review process, we recommend applying with the project that most aligns with our guidelines.

Do I need to send in a sample for the project I am applying for?

A sample for the current project is not required. If you have material to show for the current project you should consider whether it gives a good sense of something crucial to the film, e.g. a central character, landscape, special access, or where the film is going, before deciding to include it. If you decide to send it in, let us know what we should be looking for in the sample, e.g. why it’s representative of what you plan to do, how it differs, if at all, from the film you envision, and what additional scenes you need to complete the trailer. If you don’t think the material you have well represents the project, don’t include it. If you have footage for the current project and choose not to include it, please let us know. If we feel we need to see footage we may ask for it during the review process.

We strongly prefer that you include work sample links on the online application. It’s also fine to mail DVDs. If you send via You Send It, please allow four months before the link expires. Whether you mail a DVD or email a link, please include your name and contact information and the name of the project, and be sure to include any passwords.

Is it necessary to create a trailer from the shot materials to complete the deliverables for the Catapult grant?

There are many different production funding sources, all with different requirements for film materials. Some funders may require submission of a trailer. Others will want cut scenes. You should determine what would be most effective for your fundraising going forward and make that the goal for your Catapult grant. (Additional required deliverables are interim and final written reports covering the film’s progress and how you have spent the grant.)

What is the best way to get the application to you?

Please submit the application online. Do not send a hard copy of the application. You can send us links to work samples (preferred) or mail us DVDs. If you experience a problem with the online submission, please contact us at

Can I submit a treatment or other document I have already prepared instead of the Catapult application?

No. We can only consider proposals submitted on our application form. If you have other written materials you would like us to see in addition to the application, you may email those to us and we can include them in the review.

What is the Documentary Core Application and why do you use it?

The Documentary Core Application is a collaborative effort by grantors who regularly fund documentary projects to standardize application requirements, with the aim of fostering greater access and a more equitable and sustainable documentary field. We accept questions 1, 3, and 4 of the Core Application as well as supplemental questions unique to Catapult. For more about the project, visit: Documentary Core Application website. For FAQs about the project, visit: FAQs page

How long does it take for Catapult to review applications?

The review process is 3-4 months. Communications regarding your submission will be sent to the email you are logged in with to complete the application in Submittable.

How will I know that you received the application?

You should receive a confirmation email after submitting your application. If you do not receive a confirmation, please contact us to make sure we have received your application. If we have follow-up questions or need more information or materials we will contact you. Important: Please be sure to include the title of the film in the subject line of any communications with us.

How many applications does Catapult receive?

In 2019, Catapult received over 900 applications.

What’s the best way to be in touch with you?

The best way to be in touch is by emailing Please include the name of your project in the subject line for all email communications. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the application.

Can I reapply if not chosen for funding?

If you were not chosen for funding on your first application, you are welcome to reapply if there are new developments in the proposal. Please be sure to indicate clearly on the second application how it differs from the initial application. If you have been turned down twice, we suggest that you contact us before reapplying — it’s possible that your project is just not a good fit for us.