AFS Opens Call For Entries for 2019 AFS Grant

April 12, 2019

WHO:  Austin Film Society
WHAT: Austin Film Society announces call for entries for 2019 AFS Grant
WHEN: Opens April 12, 2019; Deadline June 7, 2019WEB:
MEDIA CONTACT: Austin Culp, | Office: (512) 322-0145 x3210

Austin Film Society opens Call for Entries for the annual AFS Grant, a critical source of support for Texas independent filmmakers

Spring grant cycle will fund feature-length film projects

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – April 12, 2019) Austin Film Society (AFS) is now accepting applications for the 2019 AFS Grant, the cash fund that supports emerging filmmakers throughout the state of Texas. Since its inception in 1996, the grant has created life changing opportunities for filmmakers, many from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in the film industry. In total, the grant has awarded over $1.86 million to more than 400 Texas-based artists, and has acted as a key catalyst for a number of filmmakers who have gone on to major success in the industry. Past grant recipients include Kat Candler (director, 13 Reasons Why; Showrunner, Queen Sugar), Jeff Nichols (LOVING, MUD), David Lowery (THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, A GHOST STORY), Andrew Bujalski (SUPPORT THE GIRLS, COMPUTER CHESS), and many others.

AFS Head of Film and Creative Media, Holly Herrick, commented on the spring application cycle for the AFS Grant: “The Austin Film Society is passionate about supporting great regional storytellers, filmmakers who will change the conversation about the art of film. This grant, the only one of its kind available to Texas filmmakers, is a critical source of support, and offers an opportunity to those who come to filmmaking from diverse backgrounds.”

Notably, filmmakers whose careers began with the AFS Grant are now giving back to the fund, honoring the importance the grant played in their own careers. AFS Grant donors include Kat Candler, showrunner of Queen Sugar and director of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, whose support will go towards grants for emerging women filmmakers this year. AFS-supported filmmakers David Lowery, James Johnston and Toby Halbrooks of the production company Sailor Bear have partnered with AFS, The Oak Cliff Film Festival, the Dallas Producers Association and Tim Headington’s Ley Line Entertainment to offer $35,000 in grants for emerging filmmakers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The grant has an emphasis on underrepresented perspectives.

Continuing its commitment to diversity, AFS is proud to offer, for the second year, the New Texas Voices Award, a cash grant of $10,000 and industry mentorship, for a first-time filmmaker of color making a feature-length film.

AFS continues to make improvements to its administration of the grant in an effort to maximize the program’s impact. New this year, AFS is splitting its granting cycle into two seasons. The spring application cycle (April 12-June 7) is for filmmakers applying only with feature-length films, or undergraduate students with a short or feature length film applying for the Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund. Filmmakers with short film projects (under 40 minutes) will have their own application cycle, beginning in September, with grants awarded in December.

AFS Director of Programs Erica Deiparine-Sugars remarked on the changes:
“We are hoping to lighten the grant requirements for short filmmakers, who tend to apply for and receive smaller grants, and place them on an equal ‘playing field’ for funding. Short films are an integral program area for AFS, and the organization has a significant track record of funding artists with short films which lead to major career leaps. A recent example is Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas’ short SKIP DAY, which won best short film at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.”

Filmmakers with short films can submit their applications during the fall cycle, which begins September 2nd. Application will be available at the Austin Film Society website.

The spring application cycle is open today, and Texas-based filmmakers can apply for up to $15,000 to fund feature-length projects at all stages of production. Also this spring, undergraduate students may apply for the Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund (details follow). Additionally, grant sponsors and partners offer a range of budget-relieving services and cash, given as a part of the AFS Grant program (details follow). Filmmakers must apply online at by June 7, 2019. The recipients will be announced in early September.

Recent successes of the AFS Grant include the 2019 Sundance and SXSW-selected documentary feature, PAHOKEE, by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan; the 2018 Sundance selection and Film Independent Spirit Award-nominated NEVER GOIN’ BACK, directed by Augustine Frizzell, who was subsequently named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch and who will direct and co-executive produce the HBO pilot Euphoria; and the 2019 SXSW documentary feature film BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, by Chelsea Hernandez, who was selected as a Ford Foundation Fellow.

AFS offers resources to help filmmakers throughout the application process, including informational workshops across the state: Dallas (April 13), Austin (April 20, May 23), and Houston (May 19). An extensive FAQ, grant instructions, and more information on the workshops can be found at


New Texas Voices Grant

Affirming its ongoing commitment to support diverse voices and grow new talent, AFS is offering $10,000 as the New Texas Voices Grant to filmmakers who identify with a community of color traditionally underrepresented in independent film. This new grant will be accompanied by specialized mentorship for the awarded filmmakers. Filmmakers wishing to be considered must have a first feature film in early to mid-production and must provide racial data in the application. All other regular eligibility and application requirements for the AFS Grant must be met.

North Texas Pioneer Film Grant

AFS has partnered with Oak Cliff Film Festival (Dallas), Sailor Bear film collective, Tim Headington’s Ley Line Entertainment, and the Dallas Producers Association to offer cash grants to emerging filmmakers residing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and surrounding region. At least three grants will be awarded, ranging from $5,000-$15,000, for the production/post-production of feature-length films (40 minutes or greater). The grant aims to fund emerging filmmakers with first or second feature films and filmmakers with backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in independent film. Filmmakers wishing to be considered for this fund must provide proof of residency in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and surrounding region. All other regular eligibility and application requirements for the AFS Grant must be met.

The Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund

The Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund supports an undergraduate student making a film that will complete a course or degree requirement. Students eligible to receive the grant must be rising juniors or seniors and must be enrolled as full-time students in a four-year college or university located in Texas. The selected film must agree to include a credit or thanks to the “Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund” in addition to the crediting requirements of the AFS Grant. Additionally, the selected filmmaker is required to supply a copy of the finished film to the Endowment donors and the parents of Harrison McClure, a promising Texas film student whose life and passion for filmmaking are memorialized by this fund.

Additionally, this year’s grant sponsors and partners offer applicants a range of budget-relieving services and cash for every phase of production. These sponsored awards are given as a part of the AFS Grant program.

Kodak offers $5,000 in-kind for 16mm or 35mm film stock.

The MPS Camera and Lighting Austin Production Services Grant awards up to $10,000 worth of services, which can include cameras, lenses, lighting/grip/electric equipment, and more.

Austin post-production house Stuck On On awards one theatrical digital cinema package (DCP) for two different features.

The AFS Grant is generously supported by: Amazon Studios, Warbach Lighting and Design, Stuck On On, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Austin Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division, and the Texas Commission on the Arts in addition to grant partners Sailor Bear, Ley Line Entertainment, Oak Cliff Film Festival, Dallas Producers Association, MPS Camera and Lighting, Stuck On On, and Kodak Motion Picture Film.


About the Austin Film Society

Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, the Austin Film Society’s mission is to empower our community to make, watch, and love creative media. AFS curates and screens hundreds of repertory, international, and art house films annually at the AFS Cinema; delivers financial support to Texas filmmakers through the AFS Grant; operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, and Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse media makers to train and collaborate. Through its award-winning after school classes, intern training, and the Ed Lowry Student Film program, AFS encourages media and film literacy and provides a place for youth of all backgrounds to learn the craft of filmmaking and gain access to tools for media production. By hosting premieres, special events, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. To learn more about the AFS Cinema or about Austin Film Society’s mission visit: and follow @AustinFilm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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