General Info for Applicants:

Applicants may apply individually or with a non-profit fiscal sponsor organization*. A fiscal sponsor organization must agree to accept funds on behalf of the applicant and will be responsible for redistributing funds to the project accordingly. Individual applicants must reside in Cook County. Associated fiscal sponsor organizations must be located in Cook County, especially if the individual applicant does not reside in Cook County. Applicant must be the project director, producer, or (game/app) developer with creative control. Production and/or post-production must take place in Chicago.


Project must be independent of commercial objectives (no advertising, promotional, industrial, or contract work - even for related non-profit organizations). Projects may be funded in any phase of production. All genres will be accepted, but content must highlight a relevant social issue and should be aimed at advancing progressive social change. All content should be appropriate for youth, but does not necessarily need to be intended exclusively for youth*.


An important stipulation of the grant is that all distribution plans must include free availability on the web. 


*Because this is not a program-based grant, the role of any associated non-profit should be limited to fiscal sponsorship (facilitating funds through the non-profit to the filmmaker/project) as it pertains to this grant.

**We define "youth" as anyone age 13 and older. In order to meet grant guidelines, a project's content must be available for free online distribution and, therefore, should not contain content that would be considered inappropriate for general public viewing. However, content does not need to be intended for youth in order to qualify for a CDMPF grant.


Evaluation and Selection Criteria

  1. Content must address a present social issue and seek to advance social change.
  2. All digital video genres (narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, webisodes, etc.) and digital media projects (apps, games, etc.) are eligible to apply.
  3. Short productions are preferred; however feature length works will also be considered.
  4. Proposed projects will be evaluated on creativity, artistry, innovation, and content.
  5. Applicants must outline a clear plan for online exhibition and audience engagement for the project.
  6. Content must be appropriate for a youth audience (ages 13+) although it does not necessarily have to be intended exclusively for youth.
  7. Evidence of other support must be provided, either cash or in-kind.
  8. Previous work must demonstrate high technical and artistic ability. Allowances will be made for youth applicants in order to support strong concepts/projects by young artists.
  9. The completed proposal should demonstrate a cost effective budget and clear production plan/timeline. 

  10. Applicants applying with a non-profit fiscal sponsor organization will be evaluated based on the merits of the proposed artist and project, rather than on the associated non-profit.

Application Process

  1. Submit a complete online application here.
  2. Within the application, submit required attachments including proof of residency, project timeline, budget, script treatment (if applicable), key talent/crew bios, and budget narrative.
  3. Within the application, submit a link to at least two samples of work from key creatives and, if available, a sample of the work for which you are applying.

FAQ, Budget Templates, and more!

  1. Download a sample budget template here
  2. Download the Grant Guidelines here
  3. Download the Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Tips here

The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund is a project of Voqal, and is administered by Chicago Filmmakers.

Voqal is dedicated to supporting the dissemination of alternative ideas and building a more engaged public to effect progressive social change and disrupt the status quo. Through various grant-making and fellowship initiatives, Voqal supports nonprofit organizations and individuals using media and technology to empower those who are politically, economically or socially disenfranchised.


Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that empowers local artists to create new work through production funding, equipment access, fiscal sponsorship, and other filmmaker services and resources; encourages the professional advancement of media artists through seminars, panel discussions, lectures, rough-cut and open screenings, as well as networking events and other opportunities for artistic exchange; and nurtures the development of aspiring filmmakers of all ages by offering classes, workshops, and summer camps. Chicago Filmmakers develops diverse film-going audiences through its year-round film and video exhibition programs and two annual film festivals.