By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

If this past year’s FilmFestDC taught us anything, it’s that Washington, D.C. is a hot spring of talent and great films. And now if you are a budding documentarian there are more opportunities to tell your story as Humanities DC is offering burgeoning filmmakers up to $30,000 in grants for their #DCDocsGrant.

The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. was founded in 1980 with a mission to enrich the community through the humanities via various programming and grants.

DC DOCS provides financial support, access and resources to local filmmakers who want to tell local stories through the medium of documentary short film. The grant is available for projects conducted between July 15, 2019, and July 15, 2020.

Humanities DC is offering grants of up to $30,000 for burgeoning documentary filmmakers. (Courtesy Photo)

Eligible projects should be:

  • led by mid-career or established filmmakers who can provide evidence of their past successes,
  • informed by humanities scholars knowledgeable about the field or subject-matter the documentary short will cover,
  • innovative, unique, and of strong educational interest to a wide public audience
  • focused on one or more central humanities disciplines.

In addition to an overall description of the project, the grant application will also require:

  • A statement of expected impact,
  • A description of collaboration and community involvement,
  • List the project team and roles they will play,
  • Timeline of film project activities/stages,
  • Marketing and evaluation strategies, and
  • Budget and budget narrative.

According to the site, selected partners will have the opportunity to work with the HDC grants team who will provide capacity-building and subject-matter support throughout the life of the project.

What is a Documentary Short?

An eligible documentary film is defined as a nonfiction motion picture dealing creatively with cultural, artistic, historical, social, scientific, economic or other subjects. It may be photographed in actual occurrence, or may employ partial reenactment, stock footage, stills, animation, stop-motion or other techniques, as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction with a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.

This definition is based on (though not identical to) the one found in the 91st Academy Awards-Special Rules for the documentary awards.

What is a Scholar?

A scholar may be a working academic professional with an advanced degree in the humanities discipline most closely related to the proposed project, but an appropriate scholar does not always need these credentials. Some qualified scholars may lack an advanced degree or university affiliations but may be recognized subject-matter experts in the documentary project’s field of inquiry. In either case, the applicant must support their choice of scholar in the application narrative.

Proposals will be reviewed in June and selected projects will be announced in early July. The deadline is May 29th for this opportunity. For more information please go to:

Past grant recipients have been the filmmakers behind “Barry Farms” and “Dignity and Defiance: A Portrait of Mary Church Terrell”

To apply please  take a look a the next full grant RFP When you are ready to begin your proposal, visit the HDC grants portal at