The Ford Foundation seeks to reduce inequality in all of its forms, and artist-driven documentary and emerging media projects are crucial to this effort. As part of the Creativity and Free Expression program, JustFilms funds social justice storytelling and the 21st-century arts infrastructure that supports it. The projects and people we support inspire imaginations, disrupt stereotypes, and help transform the conditions that perpetuate injustice and inequality.
We believe that artist-driven moving image storytelling is vital to the pursuit of justice and equity in the 21st century. To flourish, storytellers and their networks need to align creative, financial, and professional support, as well as distribution systems that enable them to reach a wide range of audiences. Historically, the field of independently produced film and emerging media has been under-resourced—and affordable, reliable access to the work for audiences remains a challenge.
To address this, JustFilms supports ideas, individuals, institutions, and networks that work to reduce inequality through film, video, and emerging media platforms, with a special focus on documentary practices. We strive to increase resources in the field, develop artists as leaders, and connect storytellers with the tools and talent they need to do their best work, amplify their message, and extend the impact of their projects.
JustFilms projects are inspired by courageous individuals and undaunted communities seeking justice. These powerful stories expand opportunities for civic engagement and affirm the central role of cultural strategies in social transformation. Our strategy is informed by the foundation’s long history of supporting independent documentary film, public media institutions, artists, and freedom of expression—all of which have had a profound effect on the public consciousness.
JustFilms accepts inquiries for grants year-round, averaging between 800 and 1,000 inquiries annually. We welcome submissions from any region of the world. Our funds are limited, and we are able to support only a small percentage of these projects through direct grants. JustFilms strongly advises that you use the priorities and guiding questions below to determine whether your project might be competitive in this process. Please note that JustFilms supports a number of organizations that also make grants to documentary projects. We invite you to explore whether your project might be better suited for support through other organizations, many of which are included on resource lists at the International Documentary Association and American Documentary.
All projects submitted for JustFilms grants will be judged on the basis of