The Whickers remains committed to enabling filmmakers and allowing great documentary ideas to flourish. If your project doesn’t quite meet our criteria then you may be interested in some of the following funding opportunities. Be sure to visit their websites and read the terms and conditions carefully before applying.

Catapult Film Fund

  • Providing development funding for early stage documentary films
  • Applicants must have secured access to characters and be ready to shoot and edit
  • Supports strong stories of all genres and perspectives
  • Grants of up to $20,000 each
  • Accepts applicants from outside the US to 501(c)(3) organisations

Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Lab

  • Annual program for first and second time women filmmakers
  • Those selected for the Accelerator Lab are eligible for a further bursary from Chicken & Egg Pictures’ partner, The Whickers


  • 20-30 grants grants are awarded each year to projects in amounts ranging from $5,000-$50,000
  • Cinereach offers grants to support any stage of a film’s progression, from development to completion

Derek Freese Documentary Fund

  • Providing production support for feature-length, independent documentaries in various stages and over a broad range of subjects
  • Up to $35,000 in finishing funds available

Doc Society 

Docscene – Scottish Documentary Institute

The Filmmaker Fund

  • Access to up to $75,000 for independent documentary filmmakers; established and emerging
  • Aiming to back the next generation of high-impact filmmakers in production and post-production stages
  • Rolling applications, international applicants accepted

Filmmakers Without Borders

  • Support independent filmmakers around the world via grants and other funding initiatives
  • Grants available for projects at the development, production and post-production stages, and open to filmmakers all over the world

The Fledgling Fund 

  • Grant programme focusing on documentaries that inspire social change: climate change, health care, justice reform, human rights, etc
  • A founding member of Impact Partners, an organisation providing filmmakers around the world with financing, mentorship and the resources to make sure their films and made and reach the widest possible audience
  • Grants ranging from $10,000-$25,000 for projects typically at the rough cut stage
  • International applications accepted but films must have a fiscal sponsor based in the United States

Just Films/ Ford Foundation

  • The film branch of larger charity the Ford Foundation supports artist-driven film and media projects, both fiction and non fiction but with an emphasis on independent documentary
  • Focus on social justice films with strong visual storytelling techniques, inspired by individuals and targeting inequality
  • Direct grants of varying amounts from $1000+
  • A partner of the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Independent Television Service and the BRITDOC Foundation.
  • International applications accepted

Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships

  • Short term research opportunities to individuals interested in working on special projects designed to advance journalism – although candidates need not be practicing journalists


  • Funding single documentary programmes of standard broadcast length (30 minutes or 1 hour) from independent producers
  • Supporting diverse, engaging creative projects that explore either regional or national topics in the US
  • Films are typically already shot and the editing process begun, although not a post-production fund
  • Grants vary in price depending on the size/field of the project
  • US citizens or residents only

One World Media Production Fund

  • Small grants of £1000 to proposals for non-fiction, journalism-based media across all platforms: film, radio, print, film, online, photojournalism
  • Project must involve travel to a developing country
  • In order to be eligible to apply for the fund, applicants must first attend one of One World Media’s university or public international reporting workshops

Points North Fellowship

  • Unique opportunity for six filmmakers (or filmmaking teams) to accelerate the development of their feature-length documentary projects through a combination of funding, focused mentorship, workshops, industry meetings and a public pitch session at the Camden International Film Festival

Rogovy Foundation 

  • Small foundation with a number of film grants; values are to Educate, Inspire and Enrich
  • They favour highly targeted projects with a measurable impact

Pare Lorentz Doc Fund

  • Various annual production grants totalling $195,000, donated in memory of American filmmaker Pare Lorentz
  • Supporting independent, feature-length documentaries that reflect the spirit of Pare Lorentz’s work and show objective research, skilful storytelling and innovative camerawork
  • The project must address a critical issue in the United States and focus on one of Pare Lorentz’s central concerns; the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of a pressing social problem
  • Film must be in production, research and development almost finished with post-production work to finish
  • International applications accepted but may be subject to US tax return

San Francisco Documentary Film Fund

  • Supports riveting documentaries in post-production distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach
  • Awarded once a year and open to filmmakers internationally

SANAD Abu Dhabi Film Fund

  • A post-production fund aimed at enabling talented Arab filmmakers/ films exploring the concerns of Arab culture
  • Funds of up to $60,000 available for the post-production process
  • Both narrative and documentary feature-length films accepted
  • Applicants must be from a list of eligible Arab countries or the content of the film must be significantly related to Arab culture and/or heritage.
  • Also provides development funding, see website for details (up to $20,000)

Screencraft Film Fund

  • Supporting range of film projects with grants of up to $30,000
  • Fund awarded twice a year

Sundance Institute Documentary Fund

  • Supporting independent, non-fiction filmmakers globally with year round grants for development (up to $20,000), production/post-production (up to $50,000) and audience engagement (up to $20,000)
  • Open to both US and international applicants all year round
  • Previously funded projects include The Square, The Invisible War and The Queen of Versailles
  • The Sundance Institute also runs a documentary film training program teaching essential skills to emerging filmmakers

TFI Documentary Fund

  • A number of grants to support exceptional character-driven, nonfiction works that spotlight contemporary themes with an original focus and bold, creative filmmaking
  • Grant amounts range from $25,000 to $50,000 and are mostly open to worldwide applciations

The Wellcome Trust Awards

  • Supporting a number of TV, radio, film, games and media projects that engage with biomedical topics and explore the impact of biomedicine in the world
  • Helping to create high-impact, well-researched scientific projects
  • Applicants must be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland
  • Grants of up to £10,000 a year for development proposals, funding lasting up to 1 year
  • Co-production awards of up to £40,000, funding lasting up to 3 years
  • Eligible projects must be co-produced in association with a broadcaster or other mass entertainment platform

A comprehensive list of documentary funds is available via the International Documentary Association (IDA). 

Training Programmes

Rory Peck Trust

  • A fund providing financial, training and practical support to freelance journalists/filmmakers working in hazardous situations
  • Applicants will typically have been working in a freelance news gathering position for at least 18 months
  • Provide sponsored hostile environment training, emergency subsistence and legal advice for freelancers
  • Grants vary depending on the needs of the individual

Thomson Foundation

  • Provides training for journalists and film makers across the developing world
  • Runs a digital summer school in London each year
  • Is not a funding organisation, but sometimes can match applicants with a third-party funder
  • Sponsors the Young Journalist of the Year from the Developing World category at the Foreign Press Association Awards, bringing three shortlisted entrants to London each November
Valerie Kleeman

Chair of the Awards Committee

Valerie Kleeman, Alan’s partner in work and in life, is the Chair of the Awards Committee for The Whickers. Alan and Valerie met in 1969 and remained inseparable until his death in 2013.

Jane Ray

Consultant Artistic Director

Jane is the Consultant Artistic Director for The Whickers and a multi-award winning documentary maker and executive producer in radio and television. Her awards range from the Sony Award for best news programme (2002) and the TRIC award for best children’s programme (1993) to China’s Golden Kapok award for best director (2014). Having spent 29 years at the BBC, Jane worked with Alan Whicker in the 1990s and in 2015 got the call to help set up a new documentary foundation funded by his generous legacy. She wrote and directed Radio 4’s archive programme about Alan: Around the World in 80 years, presented by Michael Palin, and is immensely proud to have participated in his work for TV and radio.

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. 

Phoebe Hall

Production Manager

Phoebe joined The Whickers in November 2017 to manage the annual documentary funding awards. She was previously Events and Workshops Manager at One World Media, producing their annual journalism awards and managing their projects for nurturing emerging documentary talent. Prior to this, Phoebe was Programme Editor at the Frontline Club, producing their London events programme and managing the International Partners project – working with media centres and film festivals across Russia, Turkey and Eastern Europe on a year-round programme of documentary screenings, panel discussions, and journalistic training.

She studied French with Film at UCL, spending a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, and outside of her studies helped to develop the British Student Film Festival. She is the co-founder of Puppy Fat, a regular screening evening that spotlights the work of emerging filmmakers.