The Austin Film Society Opens Applications for the 2023 AFS Grant for Short Films

(Still from Isaac Garza’s THE SON WHO CAN’T PLAY TRUMPET, a 2022 AFS Grant for Short Films recipient)

AFS Will Accept Applications From July 27–September 11, Providing Crucial Funding and Support for Independent Texas Filmmakers

July 27, 2023, AUSTIN, TX— Today, the Austin Film Society announces that it will be accepting applications for the 2023 AFS Grant for Short Films, the annually renewed development and production fund for emerging Texas filmmakers. Applications can be submitted between July 27–September 11 at 6 p.m. CT, and filmmakers interested in learning more about the grant and application process can join AFS staff for a series of live webinars via Zoom, the first of which will take place Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at 6 p.m. CT. Application and submission guidelines can be found on the AFS website. 

For more information about the 2023 AFS Grant for Short Films, click here or visit

Since its inception in 1996, the AFS Grant has awarded more than $2.4 million in cash grants and more than $340,000 in in-kind goods and services to more than 490 Texas filmmakers to date, creating life-changing opportunities for artists traditionally underrepresented in the film industry and working outside large industry centers. This fall, AFS will be giving out grants for short films in any phase of production (pre-production, production, and post). This AFS Grant cycle also includes the Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund, which is for full-time undergraduate students enrolled in a Texas college or university making short films.

Some of Austin Film Society’s most successful program alumni 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 (13 Reasons Why, Queen Sugar, Hellion), David Lowery (A Ghost Story, The Green Knight, Peter Pan & Wendy), Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas (Pahokee, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Winners for Skip Day), Annie Silverstein (Bull, Cannes 2019) and Katherine Propper (Birds, Lost Soulz) were all awarded AFS Grants for short work prior to completing their breakout feature films. At this year’s SXSW 2023, Amy Bench and Annie Silverstein’s AFS Grant-funded film Breaking the Silence won the Jury Award at SXSW 2023.

The AFS Grant is open to all Texas-based filmmakers. AFS is dedicated to funding artistic voices from diverse backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the film industry and intends for the grant program to actively work against structural racism and sexism in the screen industries. In 2022, female and non-binary identifying filmmakers made up 83% of AFS Grant recipients, and 78% of the recipients identified with a community of color.


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 2023 spring application cycle — the AFS Grant for Feature Films — is now closed, and recipients will be announced this September.

Applicants for the short film cycle can apply for cash support for any phase of production and in-kind production rental support in the form of a multi-day camera package from MPS Camera and Lighting Austin. Filmmakers applying for the AFS Grant for Short Films must apply online at by Monday, September 11, by 6 p.m. CT. The recipients will be informed in December with a public announcement to follow in January.

AFS Grant program staff will again offer a series of live info sessions via Zoom to share tips, answer frequently asked questions, and provide guidance for applicants. This includes a specific webinar for those interested in the Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund, which awards cash to one undergraduate student project as a part of the AFS Grant for Short Films. More information and registration details can be found on the AFS website. The first of these workshops takes place on August 9.

  • Wednesday, August 9, at 6 p.m. CT — AFS Grant for Short Films General Webinar 1 
  • Wednesday, August 30, at 6 p.m. CT — Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund Webinar 
  • Tuesday, September 5, at 6 p.m. CT — AFS Grant for Short Films General Webinar 2 


AFS Grant – Cash Grant

Projects may apply for up to $10,000 cash for production or post-production through the AFS Grant fund. Projects may apply for up to $3,000 for distribution support. Total cash support from the AFS Grant fund will not exceed $10,000. However, applicants can receive in-kind support valued in excess of the $10,000 cash grant (in other words, applicants can apply to receive in-kind grants on top of $10,000 cash).

The Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund – Cash Grant

The $2,500 Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund Grant will be awarded to an undergraduate student for the making of a short film that will complete a course or degree requirement. Students eligible to receive the grant must be incoming juniors or seniors and must be enrolled as full-time students in a four-year college or university located in Texas.

The MPS Camera And Lighting (Austin) – In-Kind Grant

The MPS Camera and Lighting Austin In-Kind Grant comes in the form of a multi-day camera package rental from MPS Camera Austin valued at up to $10,000. The award must be used by the awarded project and cannot be sold. Grantees must meet MPS’ minimum insurance requirements, and package rental is subject to availability. MPS must be credited in the project credits.

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

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