Company/Organization Profiles | Connecticut | Film Funding

Funding for Conn. Filmmakers

1 Aug , 2002  

Written by Amanda Axelson | Posted by:

Awarding grants up to $5,000, the Connecticut Commission for the Arts offers a unique funding opportunity for local filmmakers.

"The artists fellowship program is designed to encourage the continuing artistic development of artists who are seriously committed to their art form. It is Connecticut’s way of supporting it’s base, the vital center of the arts community," says Linda Dente, Senior Program Associate of the Connecticut Artist Fellowships.  The Artists Fellowship is devoted to residents of Connecticut who have demonstrated a history of professional activity in the state.  With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, this fellowship supports just about all different types of artists, from music composition and fiction writing to film and video.

The most appealing part of this fellowship is that all decisions are based solely on the artists merit.  No need to worry about connections for this grant!  The Connecticut Commission on the Arts looks for "artists whose work exhibits skill and originality.  We don’t have a blueprint for what we are looking for.  Creativity and commitment usually reveal themselves in the work of a good artist," says Dente.  

Don’t be concerned if your full-time job is not devoted to the arts.  As long as your long-term commitment is your artistic development and performance, you’re eligible. The Commission understands that jobs in the field are often limited and hard to come by.

In order to apply for this fellowship you must be currently residing and working in Connecticut at least one year prior to filling out the application.  However, your work does not have to promote the state of Connecticut in any way.  Their main goal is to increase opportunities for artists.  "We have funded all kind of film projects; from emerging artists to experienced, from quirky original animation to bound for Sundance independent types," says Dente.  

Jason Turner is a young artist who was awarded the grant in film/video to help him create his educational play. The play is a unique take on "the different ways that Native peoples across the nation continue to give thanks for things in the natural world," according to Turner.  His purpose in staging this production is so that it will be able to creatively dispel the myths about Native Americans.  "With this grant, I will be able to have access to equipment necessary for the transmission of story telling through digital means, on television, over the internet, and else where so as to reach more people and to educate them about different cultures and backgrounds, most especially with Native American perspective," says Turner.  

What better way for any artists to end their summer by applying for this fellowship?  The deadline is Sept 19, and by the end of December, 20-35 awards could be granted ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.  "The application is very simple but the work sample must be your best effort.  The jury bases their decision on the ten minutes they view.  We fund about 10 percent of the applicants on any given year.  Those are not bad odds," says Dente.

It might not seem like that much, but for artists like Jason Turner, the award not only helps get  recognition, but is also designed to "provide direct support to artists to set aside time to work, to purchase supplies and equipment, to rent studio/office space, and to devote full attention to the creation of new work."   The Commission is fully aware that it takes more than what they award to create art, but they also offer support in ways that you can’t put a price on.  "Filmmakers have a particularly difficult time making art in such an expensive medium.  We know that our maximum award of $5,000 won’t go far in this field, but we are certain that it helps with additional fund raising and may get you past critical juncture in the creative portion of your endeavors," says Dente.  

If you are thinking of applying, now is the best time to pull together your best and most recent work.  With the deadline approaching, if you’re an artists residing in Connecticut and  are not currently enrolled in a full time degree granting program, now is the time to seize this opportunity.  It’s worth a shot!  Be creative, "something in the work sample must speak to the jury on different levels…sometimes it’s originality, sometimes it’s well crafted, sometimes it’s compelling.  Different artists, different juries, different outcomes," is Dente’s best advice.

The deadline for the Artist Fellowships is Sept 19, 2002. For more information about the fellowship, visit

The deadline for the Artist Fellowships is Sept 19, 2002. For more information about the fellowship, visit