Austin Film Society Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 AFS Grant for Short Films – Now Open

(Still from Chinwe Okorie’s short film ELEPHANT!, a 2020 AFS Grant recipient)

Brady Dyer,

Austin Film Society Announces Call for Entries for the
2021 AFS Grant for Short Films

Applications Open Today, Deadline to Apply September 13

August 2, 2021 (Austin, TX) —The Austin Film Society announces applications are now open for the 2021 AFS Grant for Short Films. Awards will be given to short film projects—40 minutes or under—in any phase of production. The opening date for entries is today, Monday, August 2, and the deadline is Monday, September 13 at 6 p.m. CST. Recipients will be announced in December. Applications and submission guidelines can be found on the AFS website.

Since its creation in 1996, the AFS Grant has awarded over $2 million in cash grants and $340,000 in-kind goods and services to over 400 Texas filmmakers, creating life-changing opportunities for artists traditionally underrepresented in the film industry and working outside large industry centers. A vital resource for Texas independent filmmakers from diverse backgrounds, the AFS Grant is intended to support career leaps for emerging to mid-career artists and aims to actively work against the structural racism and sexism in the screen industries. In 2020, female-identifying filmmakers made up 50% of the recipients and 71% of the recipients identify with a community of color.

Some of Austin Film Society’s most successful program alumni over the years received grants for short form work. Short films can often be a springboard to feature-length projects and are an excellent platform for filmmakers to practice their craft and define their voice. Filmmakers Kat Candler (former showrunner of O Network’s Queen Sugar, Hellion, 13 Reasons Why), David Lowery (The Green Knight, Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story), Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas (Skip Day, Director’s Fortnight Winners) and Annie Silverstein (Bull, Cannes 2019 and SXSW 2020) were all awarded AFS Grants for short work prior to completing their breakout feature films. At this year’s SXSW 2021, two AFS-supported filmmakers received top awards for their short films—Haley Anderson (Summer Animals, Winner, Texas Shorts) and Renée Zhan (O Black Hole!, Special Jury Recognition, Texas Shorts).

About the AFS Grant
The AFS Grant is administered with two application periods and deadlines. Open today, the fall grant application cycle is for short films, 40 minutes or under in length. The spring grant application cycle is for documentary and narrative feature-length film projects (over 40 minutes) in any phase of production, or feature length films in development. The 2021 spring application cycle—the AFS Grant for Feature Films—is now closed, and recipients will be announced this September.

This year’s awards for short films are made up of cash and in-kind prizes from AFS partners. MPS Camera and Lighting is offering one in-kind multi-day camera package rental to one award recipient. The Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund will award cash funds to one undergraduate student project as a part of the AFS Grant for short films, and undergraduate students from throughout the state are particularly encouraged to apply for this special award.

AFS Grant program staff will offer a series of live webinars via Zoom again this year to share tips, answer frequently asked questions, and provide guidance for applicants. More information and registration details can be found here. The first of these workshops takes place Wednesday, August 11 at 6 p.m. CST.

The AFS Grant is generously supported by grant partners Oak Cliff Film Festival, Ley Line Entertainment, Kat Candler, MPS Camera and Lighting, and Stuck On On, in addition to the City of Austin Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, 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. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.