Filmmaker FAQs

+ CAN I APPLY FOR MULTIPLE PROGRAMS?

Of course! Simply apply through each program’s page. For example, many Moving Picture Institute filmmakers take advantage of the Rising Filmmaker Program as well as masterclasses, screenwriting workshops, and skills workshops, including Moving Picturecraft and the Mindful Editor. Interns sometimes also “graduate” into our more advanced programs.

+ DOES THE RISING FILMMAKER PROGRAM OFFER FISCAL SPONSORSHIP?

Sometimes. In special instances, the Moving Picture Institute offers fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers who are raising funds for non-commercial projects that advance our educational mission of promoting freedom through film. This is not a grant program; rather, it enables participating filmmakers to raise funds. By “borrowing” the Moving Picture Institute’s tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, filmmakers can offer their supporters substantial tax benefits. See more below.

+ HOW BIG ARE RISING FILMMAKER GRANTS? WHAT DO THEY COVER?

Rising Filmmaker grants range in size and scope. We encourage filmmakers to workshop projects in our Screenwriting Workshops before applying.

+ DO I NEED TO BE A CURRENT FILM SCHOOL STUDENT OR RECENT GRAD TO APPLY FOR AN INTERN PLACEMENT?

Though the Hollywood Career Launch Program focuses on film students and recent film school graduates, we have accepted applicants with a wide range of backgrounds. The key is to have a dedicated interest in film, the Moving Picture Institute mission, and a desire to work in the entertainment industry in the future.

+ I’M A STUDENT BASED OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES. WILL I HAVE TO RELOCATE FOR MY INTERN PLACEMENT?

Most internships take place in Los Angeles and New York, but we have also placed interns in production companies in Washington, D.C., and Austin. We may not be able to place interns who are not willing to relocate. Unlike many entertainment internships, our Hollywood Career Launch Program interns are paid, which helps cover the cost of living.

+ I APPLIED FOR A GRANT BUT HAVEN’T HEARD BACK. WHAT IS MY APPLICATION STATUS?

Due to the high volume of application submissions, we review grant applications on a cyclical basis 3 times per year: applications for our Winter cycle are reviewed the last week of February; applications for Spring cycle are reviewed the last week of May; and applications for our Summer cycle are reviewed the last week of August. Filmmakers are welcome to submit a grant application at any time, but they might not be considered until one of our regularly-scheduled review periods. While we are unable to contact everyone who has applied for a grant, we will reach out to you if you’ve advanced beyond the initial stage. No calls please. We do not accept application materials by mail.

+ WHERE DO WORKSHOPS TAKE PLACE? DO I HAVE TO BE IN NEW YORK OR LOS ANGELES?

Though most programming takes place in New York and Los Angeles, filmmakers from other areas often receive travel stipends to attend longer workshops, such as our cinematography and editing workshops. Screenwriting workshops are conducted virtually, online.

+ CAN I APPLY FOR MULTIPLE WORKSHOPS?

Of course! Simply apply through each class's page. Many Moving Picture Institute filmmakers take advantage of our wide range of programming.

+ DO I NEED EDITING EXPERIENCE TO ATTEND THE MINDFUL EDITOR WORKSHOP?

Though editing experience is not a prerequisite to apply, preference will be given to applicants with editing experience and a professional interest in film editing.

+ DO I NEED CINEMATOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE TO ATTEND THE MOVING PICTURECRAFT WORKSHOP?

Though cinematography experience is not a prerequisite to apply, preference will be given to filmmakers who want to pursue cinematography in the future. This workshop is also appropriate for directors who want to learn more about working with their directors of photography.

+ I APPLIED FOR A WORKSHOP BUT HAVEN’T HEARD BACK. WHAT IS MY APPLICATION STATUS?

Due to the high volume of application submissions and limited spaces, we are unable to contact everyone who has applied for a class. We will reach out to you if you’ve advanced beyond the initial stage. No calls please. We do not accept application materials by mail.

+ DO YOU ACCEPT ANY APPLICATION MATERIALS BY MAIL?

No.


Fiscal Sponsorship FAQs

+ What is fiscal sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsorship allows a project without tax-exempt status to receive tax-exempt donations through a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To be eligible for fiscal sponsorship, the project must advance the nonprofit’s tax-exempt purpose.

+ What are the benefits of fiscal sponsorship?

Many individuals, foundations, and corporations will donate only to a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Fiscal sponsorship allows you to apply for and accept such funding. It also provides a benefit to your project’s supporters because their donations are tax-deductible.

+ What kinds of projects does MPI fiscally sponsor?

We fiscally sponsor non-commercial projects that are 100% financed by donations and advance our tax-exempt purpose to promote freedom through film. We cannot sponsor any project, no matter how worthy, that does not clearly advance our tax-exempt purpose.

+ What is MPI’s fee for fiscal sponsorship?

We retain 5% of donations to cover processing costs and overhead. This fee is competitive with other fiscal sponsors.

+ How do I apply for fiscal sponsorship?

You can apply online here.

+ Is there an application deadline?

No. We accept and review fiscal sponsorship applications on a rolling basis.

+ What documentation does MPI require when I apply?

You must submit a detailed project description, budget, and work plan. Your work plan should include timelines for all proposed phases of your project, as well as deadlines for deliverables, and your budget should include estimates for all projected expenses. You may request reasonable amendments to the budget and work plan as you carry out your project, but you should make every effort in your initial application to be as detailed and accurate as possible.

All proposed expenses in your budget must be in line with industry norms. We cannot approve your budget if any expense could be deemed excessive.

+ What are my reporting requirements if fiscal sponsorship is granted?

If we fiscally sponsor your project, we will require quarterly narrative reports that detail all project activities and progress. We also require quarterly financial reports, including copies of receipts, invoices, or other proof of payment, that demonstrate how the funds disbursed to you were spent. You must also share with us copies of any grant applications submitted, reports to donors, and any project deliverables.

Using fiscal sponsorship funds for any expense not directly related to your project is against the law and could have very serious consequences. If you have concerns about the legitimacy of any expense, please consult us before proceeding.

+ Will you help me raise money?

You are responsible for raising funds for your project. We do not have the resources to fundraise for you or write grant proposals on your behalf. We occasionally do provide additional grant support to projects that we fiscally sponsor, but we make such determinations on a case-by-case basis.

+ Does MPI exercise any creative control over a fiscally sponsored project?

We will endeavor to give you as much creative independence as possible, although we are required by law to monitor the direction of the project to ensure that it remains aligned with our tax-exempt purpose.

+ What happens if my project changes?

You should inform us immediately if the focus of your project diverges from your project description or work plan. If we determine at any time that the project no longer fulfills our tax-exempt purpose, we reserve the right to terminate the fiscal sponsorship agreement. Should that happen, you will be required to return any funds that you have received through the agreement.

+ I received a donation for my project. Can I have all the funds right away?

We will monitor the progress and needs of the project closely and disburse funds only as they are required. (A fiscal sponsor is required by law to be more than a “mere conduit.” If MPI simply acted in a pass-through capacity, the IRS would not regard the arrangement as tax-deductible.)

+ If I accept fiscal sponsorship, will MPI own my project?

No. Accepting fiscal sponsorship will not affect your intellectual property rights.

+ Are there limits on what I can do or say with my project?

Your project must respect IRS rules governing political activity by nonprofits. In particular, you may not use your project to engage in campaign activity (i.e., supporting or opposing a specific individual’s campaign for elected office) or lobbying (i.e., attempting to influence voting around specific pieces of legislation).

+ Do I need to report to the IRS that I received funds through fiscal sponsorship?

Yes. MPI will send you a 1099 at the end of any calendar year in which you accept funds through fiscal sponsorship. We do not provide tax advice, but we strongly recommend that you work with a professional tax advisor to fulfill all relevant tax reporting obligations.

+ Can I accept investments as well as donations?

No. We fiscally sponsor only noncommercial projects that are entirely financed through donations.

+ Can my project have additional fiscal sponsors?

No. We require that we be the project’s only fiscal sponsor.

+ Someone wants to make an in-kind donation to my project. Can you issue a tax receipt?

No. In cases of fiscal sponsorship, we can process and issue tax receipts for monetary donations only. We cannot grant a tax receipt for any in-kind donation such as legal or accountancy services.

+ My project is mostly completed, but I need fiscal sponsorship for post-production and distribution. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. We fiscally sponsor projects in all phases of production, post-production, and distribution.

+ MPI fiscally sponsored my previous project. Do I have to apply again?

Yes. We require a separate fiscal sponsorship application for each project.


General FAQs

+ WHAT IS THE MOVING PICTURE INSTITUTE? WHAT DO YOU DO?

The Moving Picture Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting human freedom through film. Learn more on our Mission Page.

+ I WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND A FILMMAKER FOR A GRANT, INTERNSHIP, OR WORKSHOP. WITH WHOM SHOULD I SPEAK?

Please contact our vice president of talent development, Lana Link, at Lana@thempi[dot]org.

+ I WORK IN THE INDUSTRY AND AM INTERESTED IN HIRING A MOVING PICTURE INSTITUTE INTERN. WITH WHOM SHOULD I SPEAK?

Please contact our talent associate, Hannah Ruth Earl, at Hannah@thempi[dot]org.

+ I WORK IN THE INDUSTRY AND AM INTERESTED IN SPEAKING AT A MOVING PICTURE INSTITUTE MASTERCLASS. WITH WHOM SHOULD I SPEAK?

Please contact our vice president of talent development, Lana Link, at Lana@thempi[dot]org.

+ I AM A MEMBER OF THE PRESS AND WOULD LIKE TO COVER A MOVING PICTURE INSTITUTE FILM. WITH WHOM SHOULD I SPEAK?

Please contact our vice president of talent development, Lana Link, at Lana@thempi[dot]org. You can also visit our Press Center.


         

Still have questions? Email: info@thempi[dot]org.