Frequently Asked Questions for the Catapult Development Grant:
Deadlines & Eligibility
Are you accepting applications? What is the deadline?
The development grant is currently closed. We will be accepting applications during two open calls in 2023. The first round will open early 2023, dates to be announced.
Do you accept applicants outside the US?
Yes! We accept projects from international applicants, including individuals or film production companies based outside the U.S. 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. Applicants do not need a fiscal sponsor in place to apply, but selected projects must have a confirmed U.S.-based 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in order to receive the funds.
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. A confirmed fiscal sponsor is not required to apply nor will the lack thereof be counted against your application. However, if selected, grantees must have a confirmed U.S.-based 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in order to receive the funds. Upon request, Catapult can provide a list of frequently used fiscal sponsors from previous grantees. Catapult does not make grants to individuals.
What is the best way to get the application to you?
Catapult only accepts application online through Submittable. We do not accept physical applications or DVDs. See the How to Apply section for more information.
What is the Nonfiction Core Application and why do you use it?
The Nonfiction Core Application (v.2022) is a collaborative field-wide effort by funders, producers, fiscal sponsors, artist collectives, and artist support organizations to standardize a set of questions that are used in non-fiction funding, fiscal sponsor, or artist support opportunities. Led by Sundance Institute, in partnership with the IDA, the goal of Non-fiction Core Application Proposal Checklist Initiative is to alleviate the burden of proposal re-writing on applicants, foster greater access to sources of creative and financial support and build toward a more equitable and transparent nonfiction field. Learn more about the Nonfiction Core Application
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 kinds of projects is Catapult interested in funding?
We look for artful, compelling stories with a preference for character-driven narratives. 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?
Every project is unique so we carefully consider the relationship between production stage and overall funding. Applicants must have a compelling story to tell with secured access, completed initial research for feasibility, and a clear sense of and/or connection to central characters. We also take into account the relative impact of our grant, and do not support projects with significant funds raised nor those without a clear fundraising strategy. We prioritize applicants who demonstrate the ability to advance their projects and are ready to create a fundraising piece to “unlock” additional production support.
What kind of prior work samples do you want to see?
Share the strongest material available that best supports your proposed project. Whether this is sample footage or prior work from key personnel, be sure to indicate how it does (or does not) relate to the project in your application. While there is no time limit for samples, feature-length projects may or may not be viewed in the entirety depending on the volume of applications.
Do I need to send in a sample for the project I am applying for?
We do not require work samples from the proposed project, and mainly recommend submitting the strongest material possible. Applicants should carefully consider whether the available material offers a strong case for the proposed project, such as a strong presentation of a key idea or component (e.g. character access, landscape, narrative). Be sure to indicate what we should be looking for in the sample, either as a representative of what you plan to do or how it differs from what you envision and what additional elements you need to complete the work. Do not include material that does not strengthen you project. If you have existing footage but choose not to submit it with the application, please let us know and we may request it during the review process for reference.
Can I send you a link to view a work sample or do I need to send you a DVD?
Work samples must be submitted via the online application. We do not accept DVDs or physical media (e.g. external drives) at this time. If you are using a password-protected or temporary link, please allow four months before the link expires.
Procedures & Guidelines
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.)
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.
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. We cannot provide status updates about applications in review, and will contact you if we have follow-up questions or need more information or materials. Important: Please be sure to include the title of the film in the subject line of any communications with us.
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.
How many applications does Catapult receive?
The Catapult Development Grant is highly competitive. In 2022, Catapult received over 1,000 applications.
What’s the best way to be in touch with you?
The best way to be in touch is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the name of your project in the subject line for all email communications. We are a small team so thank you for your patience as it can take time for us to respond.