Competitions, Awards & Funding Opportunities for Women (only)

updated January 2014

I was so delighted when I saw the link to the Women in Film New England's scriptwriting competition that I had to start a page and to include awards that aren't associated with film festivals. And now someone has sent me a grant link, so I'm adding women-only funding opportunities too. Please send in more links if you have them. Tweet me @devt, or email to wellywoodwoman on gmail! We need all the women-only awards, competitions and funding opportunities we can get, partly for the reasons explored in this excellent Jennifer Kesler article.

Developing this page will be a gradual process, because I'm deep in writing a script, trying to improve my podcasts and it's also harvest time in my garden.

Hollywomen has a good list, which I will use to add to this list as soon as I have a moment.

Withoutabox is a good place to check out for competitions and we can also find festivals there, and submit work online (tx to @PersephWrites for this reminder!) For festival strategies, I recommend Roberta Munroe (Facebook, Twitter) and Stacey Parks (Facebook, Twitter).


Adrienne Shelly Foundation Awards in memory of filmmaker Adrienne Shelly.

DIFF Prize for Advancing Women and Girls The prize will be awarded to an aspiring student filmmaker (under 25) from the Middle East and North Africa region for a short (3–5 minute) original film on an issue related to the advancement of women and girls globally. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award. Deadline: 15 January 2015

Directors Guild of America Annual Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and women filmmakers. The awards, which bring the winners prizes of $2,500 from the DGA, are designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to outstanding minority and women film students in United States film schools and other select universities.

Feminist Oscars (last held 2011, is it time for another one?)

Film Reporters Competition 2013 Underwire Festival and Sight & Sound 

League of Professional Theater Women Gilder/Coigney International Theater Award Named after two legendary women in the theater, Rosamund Gilder and Martha Coigney. It is presented every three years and acknowledges the exceptional work of women around the world. It aim to make a difference in the life and career of an international woman theater artist. Next award: 2014.

Leah Ryan Award for Emerging Women Writers
All women who consider themselves emerging playwrights (as distinct from fledgling or mid-career playwrights) are eligible to apply for the FEWW Prize. Playwrights from all over the world are encouraged to apply, but the play must be written in English. 2014 deadline: Monday 13 January.

Leslie Scalopino Award for Women Playwrights
The award "recognises the importance of exploratory approaches and an innovative spirit in writing for performance. It wishes to encourage women writers who are taking risks with the playwriting form by offering the opportunity to gain wide exposure through readings and productions. The award will also seek to increase public awareness for this vibrant contemporary field. We are looking for full-length work for live performance by a woman writer with an enquiring approach to language and content." Next call for submissions 2016.

Natalie Miller Fellowship  Established in 2011 in recognition of the unique contribution of Natalie Miller OAM, the Natalie Miller Fellowship aims to award a grant of up to $10,000 annually to a woman who has demonstrated initiative, entrepreneurship and excellence working in the Australian screen industries, and who has a professional development proposal that will assist her to reach her full potential and benefit the wider Australian screen community.

Nora Ephron Prize From 2013 the Nora has been awarded annually to a woman filmmaker whose film is making its North American, International or World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The $25,000 award will recognize a female writer or director who embodies the spirit and vision of the legendary filmmaker and writer. The 2014 winner was Talya Lavie for Zero Motivation.

“Nora Ephron's work influenced screenwriters, filmmakers and movie goers,” affirmed Jane Rosenthal, TFF Co-Founder. “She was a great friend to the Festival since its inception, and I had the privilege to know her and be in absolute awe of her. She did it all brilliantly, with wit and wisdom that went straight to the heart.”

PorYes! European Feminist Porn Award
In 2011 Catherine Breillat won, and Rusty Cave, Dirty Diaries–a Swedish collection–and Emilie Jouvet received honorable mentions. Singer Amanda Palmer was part of this celebration, too!

A Room of Her Own's The Gift of Freedom Award has a playwright category Twitter

Stockholm Film Festival Feature Film Award for a project with a female director, who has directed no more than two previous feature films and has a Swedish production company. The application should include a producer, a script, budget and time schedule. This is the rationale for the award:
We do not think there is any difference between the sexes when it comes to directing films. But as it stands today, there are significantly more men who sit in the director’s seat. The statistics indicate that there is an untapped potential among female directors. We want to realize this potential through this fund. A small country like Sweden cannot afford to ignore half the population when we make films.
The nominees are selected through an evaluation based on the script, previous productions, and the team's ability to carry out production according to schedule, budget and audience potential. In 2011 Sofia Norlin won with the project Tenderness, which is now in post production and will have its World Premiere at the upcoming festival November 6-16. The winning project in 2012 was Young Sophie Bell by Amanda Adolfsson. The award is a value of a minimum of SEK 5.4 million and Young Sophie Bell will have its World Premiere at the festival in November 2014.

The nominees for the 2012 award were: Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten with the project Wasted, Amanda Adolfsson with the project Young Sophie Bell and Görel Crona with the project Cayuco.

Women's International Film & Television Showcase Foundation International Visionary Awards
'The Women’s International Film & Television Showcase and TheWIFTS Foundation International Visionary Awards has ‘Women as Individuals’ for its mission cornerstone.

The concept derives from our awareness that individual women are seldom celebrated for their body of work, not only within the film and television industries, but also other industries throughout our society.

The WIFTS Foundation strives to create a new strand of recognition, finding outstanding gems of individuality’ within all arenas and bring them together through the art form of Film & Television, the 21st century Visual Communicator.

The question is sometimes asked: ‘Aren’t there enough organizations promoting women?’

The unequivocal answer is The WIFTS Foundation celebrates ‘individuality’ not gender. Typically, TheWIFTS seeks out women who have not yet been celebrated because so often the same women get recognized time and time again when in fact there is a wealth of women who are worthy of commendation.

Until our global society recognizes equality in gender, it is important to celebrate ‘individuality’ so that the issue of gender will become of no consequence.'


Adrienne Shelly Foundation Grants in memory of filmmaker Adrienne Shelly.

Chicken & Egg Pictures
"A 'hybrid film fund and non-profit production company dedicated to supporting women filmmakers who are as passionate about the craft of storytelling as they are about the social justice, environmental and human rights issues they’re embracing, translating and exploring on film. We match strategically timed financial support with rigorous, respectful and dynamic mentorship, creative collaboration and community-building to nurture women filmmakers whose diverse voices represent a range of lived experience and realities that have the power to change the world as we know it.'"

Gamechanger Films
'Gamechanger aims to shift the gender disparity in the film marketplace by tapping into the enormous yet undervalued talent pool of women directors and providing the financing necessary to bring their work to audiences worldwide.'  See also this Rolling Stone article.

IAWRT The International Association of Women in Radio & Television has chapters in Cameroon, India, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, United States. It supports its members to produce short documentaries: "These are inspiring stories produced by women about women and the various issues confronting them at all levels and how they assert their rights and inspire other people in their respective communities." A recent example is Leena Manimekalai's Ballad of Resistance, a portrait of indigenous tribal journalist and activist Dayamani Barla.

Women in View is a Canadian organisation with a page dedicated to opportunities for women in media.

New York WIFT
  • Scholarship Fund  The Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to second-year female students enrolled in graduate film programs at Columbia University, New York University and The City College of New York.
  • Fund for Women Filmmakers The Fund for Women Filmmakers provides completion funding and in-kind contributions to independent producers and nonprofit organizations for documentary, dramatic, educational, animated and experimental films.
  • Women's Film Preservation Fund The Women's Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) is the premiere effort of women in the industry to preserve our cultural legacy. It was founded in 1995 by NYWIFT in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Loreen Arbus GrantThrough the generosity of Loreen Arbus, New York Women in Film and Television has established the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant. The film completion grant for $7,500 will be awarded to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues. Directors and producers are eligible to apply. Films may be of any length or genre. The Grant will be awarded to help complete a work-in-progress. Films must have completed principle photography to be eligible. Finished films are not eligible. Filmmakers must be US-based.

NYWIFT: Special Funds from NYWIFT on Vimeo.

Octavia Films
Octavia Films is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting young women in independent film – short filmmaking grants for Canadian residents and landed immigrants in Toronto.

Sarah Jacobson Film Grant 
The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant supports self-identifying female, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming artists “whose work embodies some of the things that Sarah stood for: a fierce DIY approach to filmmaking, a radical social critique, and a thoroughly underground sensibility.” This year we plan to give out two grants of approximately $2,500 each to support film projects. 2016 close off date is 16 May.

Sundance Women Filmmakers Initiative, with WIF LA
Not direct funding but aiming 'to foster gender equality in American independent cinema by supporting women filmmakers to create and find audiences for their work, and to grow and sustain their careers'.

WIF-PDX Faerie Godmother Grant

The purpose of the WIF-PDX/FG Production Grant is to support women working in media in Oregon and SW Washington (Clark County.) The goal of this grant is to provide financial support aiding in the production or completion of a consequential piece of work, while helping to advance the artist’s vision and craft. WIF-PDX members are eligible to apply for this grant at no cost. If you are not a member of WIF-PDX, the application fee is $25, and is due when you apply for the grant. (Membership to WIF-PDX is just $50/year, and if you join now, your application fee will be waived!)

Women Arts Funding database

Women in Film Finishing Fund
Another fabulous WIF LA initiative.

Women Make Movies (Twitter, Facebook) can help by becoming a fiscal sponsor in some circumstances. Debra Zimmerman talks about this aspect of Women Make Movies' work in this recent Wellywood Woman podcast (download).


Playscripts' 'Are Women Funny?' competition
Asking women writers to submit large cast, one-act comedies ideal for performance by high school students. The submission period opens September 25 2013 and runs until December 15. All plays should be PG-13 or cleaner, comedic, have the potential for 8 or more characters, have the ability to be performed between 20 – 40 minutes, and must be written by a woman or team of women.

Women's Independent Film Festival
Scripts may be of any length and of any genre. For the script to qualify, it must be either written by a woman or be centered around a female protagonist. Best of the category will receive a trophy, and will be allowed to read an excerpt from the script at the festival.

Women in Film & Video New England

Women's Work  Script competition. International.