As any film festival organizer will tell you, those things cost serious money to run. You make a certain amount in ticket sales and merchandise, but in most cases that's not nearly enough to cover the actual operating costs. The rest comes from grants and donations.

To help, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established a grant program in 1999 that has given out a total of $2.85 million so far. The recipients for the 2008 grants, totaling $450,000, have just been announced, and it looks like the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Virginia Film Festival are the big winners. Each will get $75,000, spread over three years.

Grants are given according to the size of the fest. The Los Angeles and San Francisco International fests each get $50,000; Chicago International Children's, Fort Lauderdale International, and the San Francisco International Asian American fests each get $30,000; and at the far end of the spectrum, the Anchorage International Film Festival gets $7,000.

Other film festivals receiving grants are: Ashland Independent (Oregon), Chicago Latino, Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, Miami Gay & Lesbian, St. Louis International, Rochester/High Falls International, African Diaspora, Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, Reel Affirmations, and Binational Independent.

Independent films often get snubbed by Academy voters at Oscar time, so it's nice to see that the Academy as an organization is supporting the industry through these grants. Now if they'd just establish a fund for writers who cover film festivals!
categories Awards, Cinematical