Funder Q&As

Funder FAQ: Playboy's Surprising Mission

Playboy is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, but we're guessing not many people know that the Playboy Foundation funds social change documentaries.


Bunny drawing by Ben Brophy.

You'll likely be surprised when you find out exactly what types of films the Playboy Foundation is passionate about making. A hint? Nudity is not a requirement.

Damned in the U.S.A. (1991)
Heart of the Matter (1994)
In the Family (2008)
The Most Dangerous Man in America (2010)
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
When Billy Broke His Head…. And Other Tales of Wonder (1999)

What do all these films have in common?

Funder FAQ: Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants

Carole Dean answers questions about how her nonprofit supports independent filmmakers.

Founder Carole Dean, giving a consultation.

Somewhat different than many filmmaking grants, the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants provide goods and services, rather than funding, with the goal of helping filmmakers not only complete their film, but gain connections within the independent filmmaking community. The Independent's Enette Ngoei talks with foundation founder, author, and producer Carole Dean to find out exactly what Roy W. Dean grants have to offer independent filmmakers.

Carole Dean, founder of the the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants and From the Heart Productions, talks with The Independent about her foundation.

What are the Roy Dean Film & Video grants?

These grants are designed to support documentary and independent filmmakers by giving them the goods and services to get their films off the ground.

National Center for Outreach

Jason Guerrasio interviews Maria Alvarez Stroud


Public television stations have always been dedicated to airing programs that help their communities. But after the programs have aired, how can inspired community members actually take up the cause?

Deutsch/Open City Films:

Jason Guerrasio interviews Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot


Since founding Open City Films in 1994, producers Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot have earned a reputation for making unique and popular films that would probably not have received financing elsewhere.

Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media

Jason Guerrasio interviews Trinh Duong


What is the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media?

It is a fund that gives grants to video, film, and radio programs.

How long has it been in existence?

Funder FAQ: Sundance Institute Documentary Program


What is the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund?
It’s a fund to support documentaries in the US and internationally that deal with contemporary human rights issues, social justice, civil liberties, and freedom of expression. It used to be the Soros Documentary Fund.

How long has the fund been with Sundance?
It’s been here for two years.

Sundance Institute Documentary Program

Jason Guerrasio interviews program director Diane Weyermann


What is the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund?
It’s a fund to support documentaries in the US and internationally that deal with contemporary human rights issues, social justice, civil liberties, and freedom of expression. It used to be the Soros Documentary Fund.

Playing Niche

Funding sources that cater to specific interest and minority groups


Securing funds as an independent producer is often the most difficult and crucial aspect of successfully completing your vision. Money from the government, non-profits, corporations, private foundations, and individuals is out there for film and video projects. But most funding sources have a particular interest and seek projects closely aligned with that interest.

The Standby Program

Jason Guerrasio Interviews Maria Venuto


What is Standby?
It’s a nonprofit media arts service organization that has been in existence since 1983. We provide postproduction services to artists and nonprofits, provide technical consultation, and do publications to serve the media arts field.

Why did Standby start?

Funder FAQ The Standby Program


What is Standby?
It’s a nonprofit media arts service organization that has been in existence since 1983. We provide post-production services to artists and nonprofits, provide technical consultation, and do publications to serve the media arts field.

Why did Standby start?

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