Rathaus Film Grant

Apply: Coming Fall 2024


  • Applicants must be currently living within the city limits of Detroit, MI

  • Applicants must be over the age of 18.

  • Grant must be used for the development, production, or installation of a film or video art project within 12-months of fund dispersal.

Application Process

  • Applicants are required to fill out a general submission form with basic demographic information about themselves and their respective project.

  • Applicants must submit a summary project proposal, up to 1500 words.

  • Applicants can submit a PDF file up to 5 pages that includes visual references reflective of the project.

  • Applications will be reviewed by a selection of filmmaker panelists working in roles across the sector. Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

1. Creativity: Is there a clear and distinct vision for the project?

2. Feasibility: Can the grant prize be utilized to significantly push the project towards completion?

3. Impact: Does the project contribute meaningfully to the city of Detroit?

  • Once all applications are reviewed, a selection of 5 finalists will move forward to the second round of the review process.

  • Winners will be selected by a jury, including Alexandra Byer, Inney Prakash, Kevin Steen, Shabier Kirchner, Cedric Cheung-Lau, Diana Peralta, and Lara Sfire.


  • The winner will receive $10,000 USD to pursue their project proposal.

  • The winner will have the opportunity over a 12-month period following fund dispersal for mentorship and project consultation from Rathaus members.


1. Why do I have to live within the city limits of Detroit? How will I prove my address and what if I used to live in Detroit but now live elsewhere?

  • At this stage we are only taking applicants residing within the city limits as the fund is designed to uplift a filmmaker from Detroit. A piece of printed mail from the last 12-months showing name and address can be used to verify residency, however please note we will only be asking for verification from finalists. If you believe an exception should be made for your situation, please indicate your significant ties to metro Detroit in your application.

2. What types of practitioners and projects will you accept?

  • Anyone can apply (including students) regardless of prior experience. Any project falling under the banner of moving image will be accepted, this can include but is not limited to: short films, feature films, documentaries, hybrid pieces, or video art. Any project that’s intended use is to sell a product i.e. a commercial or branded film, will not be accepted. A project that is part of a larger series may be accepted if there is a strong rationale for the feasibility and impact of the project.

3. What can I use the funds for and what is the audit process?

  • The funds can be used in any way that significantly progresses your project forward. This could be anything from; supporting you to take time off to write your screenplay; to covering production costs for a day of filming; to renting projectors for the installation of your video art. How you spend the grant is up to you, however, we’ll be looking for a clear and feasible plan for the funds in your project proposal including key deliverable dates. We won’t be asking for receipts or proof of expenditure but we will require deliverable tracking and oversight. For example, if you state that you intend to take 6 months off to write your screenplay - we won’t ask for proof that you used the funds to cover living expenses but we will require some evidence of your intended use (sending us the script, updating on progress etc.) at the 6 month mark.

4. What information is required in the general submission form?

  • Basic demographic information. Project title, genre, format, and a brief description/logline/synopsis.

5. What should be included in the summary project proposal?

  • What you include within the proposal is at your discretion however, consideration of the application criteria is recommended:

1. Creativity: We’re looking for projects that exhibit a unique point of view, something that we’ve either not seen before or not seen done in this way. There is no preference for a specific genre or format, instead preference is for originality and distinctiveness. You might like to include where the idea came from (your inspirations) as well as where you see it going (your vision).

2. Feasibility: As previously stated in question 3, the way you use the funds is up to you, however we will be looking for some evidence that the intended use of the grant will move the project forward in a significant way. This could be demonstrated by a brief summary of your intentions for the funds including when you expect to meet key milestones. Additionally, you may want to indicate what you see as your mentorship and/or consultation needs.

3. Impact: We’ll be looking for a description of how your intended project contributes meaningfully to the Detroit community. It might be that the content of your project is Detroit focused, or it could be that you intend to engage with members of the community in the production/execution of the project. There are a number of ways you might address this criteria, but what we’ll be assessing is the potential impact the project could have on the wider community.

6. What can I include in the PDF?

  • Up to 5 pages of any type of visual reference, this could include photographs, paintings, drawings, gifs, mood boards, floor plans etc. More than one reference per page is acceptable. Embedded videos under :30 seconds are also acceptable however we will not be watching links. Use your discretion to decide what will best support your written proposal.

7. Who is reviewing my application and how will I know if I’m a finalist or not? If I make it to the finals, what happens next?

  • All submissions will be reviewed by 2 Rathaus members, once 5 finalists have been selected all applicants will be notified of their status. Finalists will be invited to attend a Zoom meeting to discuss their proposal in more detail. Finalists' proposals will be discussed by a jury of 6 Film Practitioners who work as Writers, Producers, Directors, Cinematographers, and Lighting Technicians. The winner will be selected by a majority vote.

7. Tell me more about the prize, will I get the money all at once? What does mentorship and project consultation look like?

  • The $10,000 USD will be deposited into the winner’s bank account following execution of the grant contract and receipt of their w9 form. Consultation will be determined by the needs of the project and will consist of 1-2 Zoom meetings with relevant jurors. The winner will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from a member of the panel who will meet with them either in person or over zoom, 4 times over the twelve month period. Mentorship and consultation needs will be discussed in the finalists' zoom meetings.

9. What will be in the contract? Do I have to spend the money in twelve months and what will Rathaus’s involvement be in my project?

  • The contract will outline the key deliverables and dates identified and agreed upon by both parties. The funds do not need to be spent within twelve months and we will not be auditing the spend, however we will require proof of progress, please refer to question 3 for more information regarding this. Rathaus should be acknowledged in a meaningful way in the final execution of your project, this will vary based on the medium you’re working in but as an example we’d be expecting a “Made in collaboration with Rathaus Films” or “Made with support from Rathaus Films” included in any credits and/or press relating to the project.

10. I know people from the Rathaus team, can I still apply?

  • Definitely! Please follow procedure and don’t reach out to us directly about your application though. Please reach out through the email: grant@rathausfilms.com