How to get Film School Grants?

Getting into film school can be a challenge, but once in a new challenge awaits. Paying for film school can be an even greater challenge. Fortunately for the film student, there are many film school grants that can be applied to tuition, supplies and other expenses a film student might have (you may also want to investigate film scholarships!).

Key to most of the film school grants available is organization when applying for the grants, keeping in mind the various categories into which your need might fit, and being persistent. The following list isn’t inclusive; look further and you might find just the right film school grant for you.

Many grants can be highly competitive and the student who wins a particular grant is likely the one who presents an organized, talented and creative front.

But film school grants can be of great help to students, especially those who have a financial need. While the costs vary greatly depending on what kind of program you enroll in or what kind of classes you take, the cost of film school is usually substantial. A one-week class, for example, can run from $200 to $10,000, while a 1-year program at the Los Angeles Film School can cost more than $30,000.

These humbling numbers can help to sell the idea that finding film school grants is worth the effort.

Hollywood Foreign Press

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is the group that awards Golden Globes to the film industry. This group offers what it calls fellowships that are designed to help film students support themselves, pay for tuition or pay for other educational expenses while in film school. The grant money can also be used to pay for producing, developing and creating film projects that are required for graduation.

To qualify for the HFPA grants, students must be in school specifically for editing, acting, cinematography, screenwriting, producing, and/or set design. Students are chosen based on academic excellence and aptitude for the artistic demands of filmmaking. Financial need is also taken into consideration.

Often grants are provided to groups who are generally underrepresented at film school and students who are either in their senior year or in graduate school and finishing either a senior project or thesis project that’s required to graduate.

It’s important to note that the HFPA grants are much like other film school grants – they are for a specific purpose or for a small amount of money that won’t support a student through college. The concept of a “full ride” through film school doesn’t really exist. You might, if you have an extraordinary talent or exceptional need (combined with extraordinary talent) get a full ride, but generally speaking if you want to fund your entire film school education, you’ll want to combine as many film school grants as you can to do that.

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Kodak Scholarship program

Like most film school grants, these grants are highly competitive. They are generally awarded to students who demonstrate superior professional filmmaking skills and who have high levels of creativity.

Any student who is enrolled in a participating and qualified school from the U.S., Canada, Asia, Latin America or Europe can apply. Students who apply for these grants also must be in a degree or diploma program in cinematography, film production or film.

Five students are awarded each year with both cash and product grants that can help students to stock their personal library of supplies with what they need to make their own films.

College Awards

The College Television awards are the film school grants awarded by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation; this is the group that awards the Emmys.

The nationwide competition is designed to find and award excellence among film students throughout the United States. The main awards offer grants to three students. The biggest award is for $2,000, while the second place and third place winners receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Secondary to the monetary award, but perhaps more valuable, is the element of the award that allows selected winners to meet with industry executives, be matched with a mentor from the industry and be given an opportunity to pitch a piece to an industry decision maker.

The College Television Awards offer larger monetary awards to students who meet specific criteria. These awards include a $10,000 grant to a disabled student, a $4,000 award for a student meeting some humanitarian need or stating a strong humanitarian concern, and a $1,000 award for directing.

The Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation

Film school grants are available from the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation, specifically for undergraduates and graduate students.

The undergraduate film school grants program awards students who are juniors or seniors and majoring in film, television or related fields. Students must show financial need, professional potential and academic ability. This award is for $7,000.

The graduate grants program is specifically for students who are attending the University of California, Los Angeles and awards a student who is working on completing a film or video project $10,000 to facilitate that process. The student must be in the masters of fine arts program at UCLA.

There are other film school grants available through the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation that are specifically for students in different programs but working toward a film degree of some sort.

Local grants

Students in film programs should look for grants locally. There might be specific grants available to students interested in making films that are specific to your local area. These grants might be offered by local media professionals or the estates of deceased local filmmakers. Information about these kinds of film school grants can be found by visiting the financial aid office at your school.

Financial aid

Finally, students in film school shouldn’t overlook government assistance in some form. Film school grants might be a desirable thing and something that a student can work toward, but there are many federal programs that can also help; these programs can also supplement the awards that a student might get elsewhere.

Students in undergraduate programs might quality for student loans, Pell grants or other federal loan or scholarship programs. While loans must be paid back, many federally funded scholarships and grants are awarded without a requirement for repayment.