KTQ Collaborative: Granting Program


The KTQ Collaborative granting program provides funding towards early-career filmmakers within our community. The grants are available to filmmakers who currently are enrolled in or who have previously participated in our Filmmaker Development Programs, and those who are currently engaged in co-productions with Kartemquin.

Kartemquin Films has over a half century of experience in supporting filmmakers in making high-quality, impactful social-issue documentary films through our collaborative production model. In recent years, it has developed a portfolio of filmmaker development programs that provide training, mentorship, feedback, and other resources to early stage filmmakers. These programs emphasize filmmakers and films from and about the midwest, and particularly those from underrepresented groups whose voices have traditionally been heard as subjects of films rather than as makers — or were left out of the narrative entirely. 

In 2019 these funds to support diverse and emerging filmmakers have been made possible by the Sage Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. These new funds provide an additional, highly valuable resource for Kartemquin’s support of early career independent documentary filmmakers.

Eligible applicants

Funding will be available in the following tracks: 

*The Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund - open to DVID Program alumni who are currently in or have completed the program. DVID Program alumni must apply with a project developed through DVID.

*The Emerging Storyteller Fund - open to early-career filmmakers (defined as having less than two completed feature-length documentary projects as producer/director/editor) that are either:
      - currently in a development or co-production relationship with Kartemquin.
      - alumni of our KTQ Labs or KTQ Internship within the last five years (Summer 2014 - Summer 2019).

Eligible projects

*Must complete applications, including sample work and budget.

*Must be a nonfiction feature, short or series at the production or post-production stage.

*Must not have received funding from Kartemquin within the last year.

*Filmmaker’s residence is based in the midwestern U.S. and/or the film tells a midwestern story (Midwest defined as residents of these states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin).

*Alignment to Kartemquin’s mission of democracy through documentary.

*If you are currently in a development or co-production relationship with Kartemquin, you may only apply for funds to support your active KTQ film. 

Selection Criteria (preference will be given to projects that meet the criteria below)

*Degree to which the project’s topic illuminates a social issue and gives voice to an underrepresented point of view in media and society.

*Demonstrated need for the project to receive financial assistance.

*Priority consideration given to filmmakers of color and/or underrepresented groups (Womxn, LGBTQ+, with disabilities, etc.). 

*Demonstrated connection to the community/story/topic that the filmmakers are documenting.

Grant size


Grant application process

1. Filmmakers eligible for the:

Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund: Open to all DVID participants (current cohort and alumni) should submit here.

Emerging Voices Fund: Open to eligible program alumni and emerging filmmakers participating in the KTQ Collaborative process should submit here.

2.  Grant applications will follow the Documentary Core Application in format, and any additional prompts as needed per above eligibility and selection criteria.

3. Staff will review applications for eligibility and completion

4. Two groups of external reviewers will be invited to judge all eligible applications.

5. Kartemquin staff will make final decisions based on recommendations from external reviewers.


8/1 - Call for submissions open

8/21 - Deadline for applications

9/16 - Notification of Decisions 

10/29 - Grants publicly announced at Kartemquin’s Empowering Truth Benefit


Throughout the grant term, grantees are expected to make a reasonable effort to be available for events and opportunities highlighting the impact of KTQ's regranting program. For example, 2019 Awardees will be announced on October 29th at Kartemquin’s Empowering Truth Benefit in Chicago. Awardees should anticipate being invited to contribute to and attend, including participating in publicity activities prior to and following the event. 

Rejections and Feedback

Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

Kartemquin will commit to the timely communication of application decisions to unsuccessful applicants by mid-September.

Due to the volume of applications received for these grant opportunities, we regret that we are unable to offer any specific details or feedback on why a project was not selected. We thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience. 


Initial grant payments will be paid in early January 2020 upon receipt of a signed grant agreement. Signed grant agreements will be prepared and sent to awardees for their signature within 2 weeks of the award decision formal announcement.


Grantees will be expected to submit two reports on the use of the funds: 

1. Six months from the signing of the grant agreement, a report on the specific use of the funds so far and the progress of the project, noting any adjustments to or deviations from the project proposal or timeline in the grant application. 

2. One year after the grant agreement is signed, a report on the progress of the project and how the funds were important to its progress.