Moving Image Fund

The goal of LEF New England is to fund the work of independent documentary film and video artists in the region, and to broaden recognition and support for their work, both locally and nationally. It also supports programs that highlight the rich history and ongoing legacy of innovation within New England’s independent film community.

LEF New England launched the Moving Image Fund (MIF) in 2002 to support new film and video work. The Moving Image Fund provides funding across all phases of production, supporting films from the early risk-taking stage, through a film’s completion. In this way, MIF offers a continuum of support for selected projects, while also identifying new talent.

The peer review panel process lies at the heart of LEF's grant review. For the past 20 years, LEF has hosted an external panel process that invites non-fiction filmmakers and professionals from a diversity of perspectives in the field to evaluate and make decisions on LEF's Production and Post-production applications. In 2020, LEF expanded these efforts by inviting three New England-based peer readers for all Pre-production grant applications, whose recommendations informed final grant decisions by LEF staff. In 2021, LEF will be inviting New England-based peer readers at the Letter of Inquiry stage for Production and Post-production grants whose recommendations will inform which projects are invited to the full application stage.

Peer reviewers are anonymous, and change at every round. Nominations of new peer reviewers are accepted on a rolling basis from past LEF grantees and recent peer reviewers.

Through MIF, LEF New England champions work that is provocative, heartfelt, and challenging in style and substance. Since its inception, LEF’s Moving Image Fund has awarded over 400 grants to New England-based independent filmmakers with approximately $4.2 million in funding. The overarching goal of LEF New England’s philanthropic investment is to help build a sustainable and strong community of support for artists and their work.

The Documentary Core Application

Beginning in 2017, LEF adapted its Moving Image Fund LOI and application materials to join a growing circle of documentary film funders who are implementing the Documentary Core Application, an initiative of the International Documentary Association and Sundance Institute.

The Documentary Core Application is a collaborative effort by grantors who regularly fund documentary projects to standardize application requirements, with the aim of fostering greater access and a more equitable and sustainable documentary field. Learn more.

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