We are very aware that in some parts of the world funding for independent documentaries is particularly scarce due to economic or socio-political reasons. In such regions, even a small amount of development money and ongoing Whicker support can go a long way and have a real impact.

We have teamed up with four established and acclaimed documentary development forums, in such parts of the world. Through them we are awarding a £3,000 ‘no strings attached’ bursary each year.

How To Apply

You cannot apply for these bursaries direct through this website, but if you are living in one of the regions targeted you may apply through our partners below.

To be eligible for a Whicker Bursary, the submitted film needs to be the director’s documentary debut at feature length (50+ minutes long).

Our Bursary Partners

Previous Winners

See all the previous winners of the Bursary Schemes.

Read More

Other Funding Resources

The Whickers remains committed to enabling filmmakers and allowing great documentary ideas to flourish.

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Jane Mote

Consultant Editor

Jane is a journalist, storyteller, TV executive, and a champion for the power and accessibility of documentary. As Consultant Editor for documentary foundation The Whickers, she nurtures and supports new audio and film documentary-makers who share a curiosity for the world. She has helped develop filmmakers at Docs by the Sea (Bali), MyDocs (Malaysia), AND – Asian Network of Documentary (Busan) – as well as leading documentary training in Uganda and for the BFI London. The former UK MD of Al Gore’s documentary channel Current, and Executive Editor at BBC London, Jane has also worked for Discovery, Turner, BBC Worldwide, UKTV and the Africa channel. She is also Director of UK-based beechtobeach ltd

Harriet Armston-Clarke

Harriet Armston-Clarke is Division Head at TVF International, the world’s leading independent distributor of documentary and factual programming. TVF International’s catalogue encompasses everything from factual entertainment and lifestyle series to exceptional award-winning documentaries, representing some of the most innovative and creative content makers from across the globe.

Mak CK

Mak CK has filmed in 30 countries across 5 continents directing documentaries for international broadcasters including National Geographic, Discovery and Channel NewsAsia/CNA. When he is not directing, Mak works with filmmakers across Asia as a series producer for CNA.

Alongside his TV portfolio, he has directed and produced 3 feature-length documentary films, The World’s Most Fashionable Prison (2012), Little People Big Dreams (2014) and One Taxi Ride (2019), which have screened and won awards at over 60 film festivals including the biggest of their kind in North America, UK, Scandinavia and Latin America. Mak is currently working on his next film, Buying Happiness, documenting his over 2-decade-long relationship with orphans he met while volunteering in Tanzania.

Patrick Hurley

Patrick runs Sheffield Doc/Fest’s international Marketplace connecting filmmakers with industry Decision Makers to get new documentaries made and seen. He also oversees the Festival’s All Year talent development programmes. Formerly Distribution Manager at Dogwoof from 2012-16, Patrick has worked closely with filmmakers, producers and partners on a diverse slate of over 100 documentary releases including The Act of Killing, Blackfish, Cartel Land, Concerning Violence, The Confession, Dior and I, Dreamcatcher, Leviathan, The Look of Silence, Planet of Snail, Speed Sisters, Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ‘45 and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next. Prior to working on documentaries, Patrick studied Economics and subsequently taught Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

Emma Loach

Emma Loach joined the BBC’s documentary commissioning team in January 2017 and commissions for BBC One, Two, Three and Four.

Before joining the BBC, Loach was an executive producer, working for Dragonfly and Rare Day. Her credits for the BBC include the series Ambulance and A World Without Downs Syndrome?, and for C4 include the series The Trial, Children’s Hospital, and Big Ballet and A Killing In My Family, Ian Brady: Endgames of a Psychopath and The Murder Workers.

Seyi Rhodes

Seyi Rhodes is a British television presenter and investigative journalist. He has worked for the BBC, Channel 4 Television, Five Television and Current TV. From 2008, he has been the in-vision presenter and reporter for Channel 4’s Unreported World documentary series, produced by Quicksilver Media.

Klara Grunning

Klara Grunning is an Emmy Award-winning production and distribution consultant and executive producer for film, TV and cross media worldwide. She is currently Documentary Commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute, and before that worked five years as the commissioning editor for documentary feature and short films at the Royal Danish Film Institute, where she supported award-winning films such as ‘Concerning Violence’ and ‘The Swedish Theory of Love’. Previously she worked as a Commissioner and Supervising Producer at ITVS in San Francisco. She is Chairperson of The Why Foundation and serves on the executive committee for the European Documentary Network (EDN).



Lucila Moctezuma

As Director of Programs at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Lucila oversees the planning and implementation of the organisation’s programs in support of women nonfiction filmmakers. Originally from Mexico City, Lucila has collaborated with New York’s independent film community since 1996. Prior to joining Chicken & Egg Pictures, she was Executive Producing Director at the internationally renowned UnionDocs, Center for Documentary Art, in Brooklyn. Formerly, she was Manager of the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies, a program that provides support to women filmmakers in the development of their projects. She was Director of the Media Arts Fellowships for the Rockefeller Foundation, a highly prestigious program that supported media artists in the U.S. and Latin America, and she is Founder and was Coordinator of the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund for the Tribeca Film Institute. Lucila is in the documentary selection committee of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico, and sits on the founding Executive Board of Cine Qua Non Lab, a residency for international filmmakers based in Michoacán, Mexico; she was Vice President of the Board of Trustees of The Flaherty and was the U.S. Delegate for the Huesca International Film Festival in Spain. Her work as Associate Producer includes the documentary series The New Americans for Kartemquin Films, and Shocking and Awful for Deep Dish TV, which was part of the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Lucila holds a degree in Philosophy at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where she taught until 1996.

Mandy Chang

Mandy is the Commissioning Editor of Storyville, the BBC’s pioneering global feature documentary strand. It showcases the world’s best documentaries – dealing with big issues of our time and with stories that resonate universally. For over 20 years, Storyville has aired acclaimed films such as: India’s Daughter, City of Ghosts, Blackfish, Death on the Staircase, OJ: Made in America, Notes on Blindness and Man on Wire. Many of these films have won Oscar, Grierson, Emmy, Peabody and other prestigious awards. Mandy is from a filmmaking background and herself has brought award winning films to public television viewers, both as a commissioner (at ABC Arts) and filmmaker. During her time at Storyville Mandy has overseen and delivered to the BBC series such as The Fourth Estate and Why Slavery, as well as single films, Under the Wire, Last Men in Aleppo, The Death of Ratko Mladic, Trophy, A Northern Soul and The Cleaners, which premiered at Sundance and won the Prix Europa. She is a passionate advocate of public service broadcasting with its remit to support independent, diverse and creatively authored storytelling for audiences and to nurture new talent in a culture dominated by commercial imperatives.

Oli Harbottle

Oli Harbottle has been at Dogwoof since 2006, and was part of the original team who made the decision to specialise in documentaries the following year. As Head of Distribution and Acquisitions, he is responsible for acquisitions and overseeing all film releases, which in recent years have included successes such as The Act of Killing, Blackfish, The Look of Silence, Cartel Land, Weiner, Life, Animated, Three Identical Strangers, Free Solo, and Apollo 11. Oli is now also actively involved in the sourcing of projects for Dogwoof’s new production fund and recent executive producer credits include MaidenPlaying With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story and The Lost Leonardo.

Kate Townsend

Kate Townsend commissions original documentaries out of the UK for the global streaming platform Netflix. Kate has worked across titles such as Fyre, The Devil Next Door, Tell Me Who I Am, Don’t F**k With Cats, Tiger King and American Murder. Prior to Netflix, Kate was Commissioning Editor of the BBC’s Storyville. 



Father Christmas is asleep.

Gary Byung-Seok Kam

Gary Byung-Seok Kam is the first ever Korean documentary producer nominated for an Academy Award. He is committed to crafting compelling stories and supporting independent documentary makers. His films in release include Planet of Snail (2011, director Seung-jun YI), the first Asian documentary that won Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Int’l Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the OSCAR®-nominated In the Absence (2018), Shadow Flowers (2019) and Crossing Beyond, the official Olympic film for the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics.He has served as a tutor and juror at various international documentary forum and festivals. Gary is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

Salma Abdalla

Salma Abdalla is the CEO of Autlook Films in Vienna, one of the leading sales agents for feature documentaries, hybrids and doc series. Autlook offers a full spectrum of in-house customised distribution, sales and festival strategies that help maximise revenues, audience engagement that fosters filmmaker’s careers and an endless passion for the art of documentaries.

They are currently representing: Writing With Fire by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh (Sundance 2021 awarded), All Light Everywhere by Theo Anthony (Sundance 2021 awarded), The Painter and the Thief by Benjamin Ree (93rd OSCARS® shortlist), For Sama by Waad Al Kateab & Edward Watts, (Golden Eyes Best documentary Cannes 2019 + 47 awards, Emmy® Awarded, 92nd OSCARS® nominee), Acasa, My Home by Radu Ciorniciuc (Sundance 2020 awarded) and Of Father and Sons by Talal Derki (91st OSCARS® nominee).

Raul Niño Zambrano

Raul Niño Zambrano is the Acting Creative Director and Head of Film Programmes at Sheffield DocFest. He was previously a Senior Programmer at IDFA where he started as a programmer in 2008. During his tenure at IDFA, Raul conducted a ground-breaking study on the position of women within the documentary world (The Female Gaze, 2014) and initiated the IDFA Queer Day (2013, ongoing). In addition to being a lead programmer on the overall selection, he curated such programmes as Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia and Cinema do Brasil. He has participated in many international festivals as a juror (Hot Docs, DocPoint, Guanajuato International Film Festival) and as an expert/tutor (DocMontevideo, FESPACO, If/Then Shorts Global Pitch, DocNet Southeast Asia, Guadalajara Doculab).

Jo Lapping

Jo Lapping is Head of Factual Acquisitions, BBC. She has worked with Storyville, the BBC’s international documentary strand, developing, commissioning and producing documentary films since its launch in 1997. Jo acquires both documentary films and factual programming, working closely alongside the Commissioning Editor at Storyville to expand the range of feature documentaries available to audiences across BBC channels and BBC iPlayer.