Why $7,000? (And not some other amount?)
7k Films was more or less inspired by Shane Carruth’s Primer. Carruth made the film on a budget of $7,000 (and shot on film no less). It ended up winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and, according to Box Office Mojo, went on to make $424,760 in a theatrical release, besides launching Carruth on a distinguished filmmaking career.
We don’t necessarily expect that degree of success for our projects, but nevertheless we continue to be inspired by what filmmakers can do on very low budgets. Besides, Carruth used a lot of his money just buying the film stock – if he can make Primer on that little money, imagine what you can do. Also, guess who else made their first feature for $7,000? Robert Rodriguez. Who knows, maybe there’s something special about the number.
Can I use the $7k grant to supplement other funding options or as part of a larger budget?
In short, no. The whole point is for you to forget about funding and make your movie within the size and scope given. Think of it like the 48 Hour Film Project, but instead of constraining time, we’re constraining funding. Besides, if we open it up to being just one funding source out of many, we open it up to precisely the kind of never-ending fundraising procrastination development process we were founded to avoid.
Can I use the grant to adapt a short into a feature?
Definitely, as long as you’ve still got the other parts of the application, including the feature-length script. If you plan to go this route, let us know how much the short cost to make, and what aspects of it (cast? crew? locations?) you plan to use in the feature.
Is there a timeline for getting the movie made?
Yes. Once we’ve selected the grant recipients, they will have one year to get the film made, including all post-production. If thousands of filmmaking teams can make films in one weekend for the 48 Hour Film Project, we think a year is more than enough time to get a feature made. In order to ensure staying on time, we’ll hold twice monthly conference call check-ins with the filmmakers. Grant funding will also be contingent on milestones being met, including milestones for pre-production, wrap of principal photography, and final delivery.
Are there any restrictions on how we can spend the grant money?
Actually, yes. Ten percent of your budget, or $700, must be allocated toward marketing and promotion of your film. Our marketing folks will work with you to decide where best to spend that money, but in most cases it will mean ensuring enough funds to submit to select film festivals, with a bare bones budget allocated for other marketing & promotion materials to be produced.
What does the Advisory Board do?
They’ll be there to help. We’ve gathered a team of great people together with two main attributes: they’re passionate about getting stuff made, and they are fantastic at giving constructive feedback. Some of them will give you notes on the script, while others will ask insightful questions about how you plan to handle production.
Can the grant be used for projects which are not feature films?
No. The point is to make a feature film.
What about sales, rights and distribution?
You will retain original rights to your film. But also, let’s get real: we probably won’t make any money off of this, and neither will you. Our greatest desire is that you knock it out of the park, take the festival circuit by storm, and secure theatrical distribution. But just in case that doesn’t happen, we retain rights to directly distribute your movie online. All grant recipients sign on to a simple deal: proceeds are split 70/30, after we recoup the initial $7k investment (70 percent for the filmmaker, 30 percent for 7k Films).
Any other eligibility restrictions?
Applicants must be 18 years old. International applicants are encouraged, but ultimately the script must be in English and the film must be appropriate for an American audience.