For a documentary film to make a difference, a solid strategy for audience engagement and strong partnerships are key. Filmmakers often lack time to do this work themselves or the expertise and the funds to pay for it. Emerging artists, creators of color, and other underrepresented artists can face the biggest hurdles, despite the potential of their projects. Working Films’ response to this challenge is the Impact Kickstart, a program offering in-kind strategy development to underrepresented documentary makers with feature films in progress that hold great promise to catalyze action to address critical issues of our time.

Up to four filmmakers receive an Impact Kickstart from Working Films each year. We strongly encourage artists of color, women, LGBTQ, gender nonconforming, and differently abled creators to apply. Selected filmmakers will work with Working Films to customize a package of services that best meet the needs of their individual project and that will leave them well positioned to fully fund and carry out an impact campaign. Service options include but are not limited to:

– Planning, facilitation and reporting out from a one-day strategy summit for the film

– Partnership Development

– Funder Research, Fundraising Strategy and Materials

– Creating an Impact Campaign Budget

– Online Strategy

As a result of our work, filmmakers will have a fully developed impact strategy that advances their goals and leaves them prepared to engage future partners, funders, and audiences in meaningful ways.

The 2019 Impact Kickstart application process is closed. Check back in January 2020 for the next application cycle.


This opportunity is open to filmmakers with feature length documentaries in late production, post-production, or recently completed that address issues of social or environmental justice.

Films may feature stories from anywhere in the world, but the applicant must be living in the  United States and planning an impact campaign to be carried out in the U.S.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age as of the RFP application deadline.

Decisions will be based on: quality of filmmaking and content of storytelling; background of the filmmaker and their connection to the issues; the filmmaker’s commitment to social justice; financial need; and timeliness of the topic.

Filmmakers must be prepared for the impact strategy development to take place between February and July 2018. This does not mean that your film must be complete in this time period.

Email info(at) with questions.

Impact Kickstart is part of Docs In Action, a program of Working Films supported by the  John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


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