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Grants and Scholarships for Filmmaking

If you are thinking about going to filmmaking school, you may be eligible to receive a filmmaking scholarship. Film school grants and scholarships are available through several colleges and universities, and also awarded by a number of filmmaking organizations, production studios and major employers. Even students who are already qualified to receive financial aid to attend film school can apply for a scholarship. Whether you're planning on studying cinema, animation or film production, you can apply for several grants and scholarships that can help to finance your educational career.

Applying for a Filmmaking Scholarship

The field of filmmaking is ever-changing and can be very competitive, so it's important that students who apply for a filmmaking scholarship can demonstrate that they are wholly committed to their education and career. Attending a filmmaking school can be very expensive, and only some students are able to cover the costs of their education on their own. Getting grants and scholarships can be the best way to secure your place at your film school of choice and look forward to a fun and exciting career in the industry.

Most film school scholarships don't require students to provide work samples, but students may be required to complete a personal essay, provide several letters of recommendation, and submit a video or other type of presentation that demonstrates their skills and talents. Application requirements vary by organization. Some schools provide scholarships to cover the costs of their immersion filmmaking program.

In most cases, the application will involve:

  • Submitting an application form
  • Completing an interview, or series of interviews
  • Providing samples from any film classes you have taken
  • Submitting a portfolio
  • Submitting a personal essay or personal statement

If you don't have any work samples or a portfolio to share, you will need to do exceptionally well on your interview and make sure you are providing accurate, detailed information about your educational history and educational goals.

Organizations that Offer Film School Grants and Scholarships

There are a number of local, regional and national organizations that offer film school grants and scholarships. The American Film Institute (AFI) is one of the leading organizations to provide grants and scholarships for students who want to work through an immersion program as part of their educational track.

The American Film Institute awards the AFI Conservatory scholarship program, a highly-competitive program designed for students who are especially creative, talented and gifted. The organization also offers AFI Fellows scholarships to graduate students who have demonstrated exceptional competency in the field of filmmaking.

Other organizations and entities include:

  • The Screen Actors Guild Foundation (SAG)
  • Eastman Kodak Scholarship Program
  • Kaplan TV and Film Studies Program
  • Los Angeles Film School
  • New York Film Academy
  • International Academy of Film and Television

Finding the Best Film School Scholarships

Finding a scholarship that you are eligible for can take time, especially if you are applying for one offered by a private organization, community organization, employer or other party outside of your college or university. You can run several free scholarship searches online using services such as SallieMae and FastWeb. These reputable sites are home to a database of thousands of scholarships and you can filter down your search results based on your individual situation and the degree or major you plan to pursue.

Another way to find film school grants and scholarships is by talking with your academic advisor or financial aid advisor at the film school. These individuals can provide you with the latest listings of available scholarships and also provide tips and guidance about the application process.

Almost all film schools offer at least one scholarship for undergraduate students or a grant for graduate students. Talk to your academic advisor about available opportunities and make sure you complete and submit all application materials before the deadline to be considered. In many cases, the filmmaking scholarship will pay for tuition expenses for the full length of your educational career.

If you are attending a community college or trade school, you may be eligible to receive a general scholarship upon admission. Talk to your academic advisor or admissions counselor about your options before you begin your studies. Many community colleges and trade schools offer merit-based scholarships for students pursuing film careers and related fields.


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