ITVS Humanities Documentary Development Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

October 15, 2021

Q: Is this a new funding opportunity from ITVS?

A: Yes. The ITVS Humanities Documentary Development Fellowship is made possible by funding from NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (#SHARP)

Q: Will the fellowship be offered every year?

A: No. This is a one-time fellowship for pandemic-affected filmmakers.

Q: Firelight Media and Sundance Institute are also offering fellowships with support from NEH SHARP funding. Can I also apply to those?

A: Yes, but should you be recommended for funding, you can only accept the fellowship offer from one of the NEH-funded documentary entities providing this funding.

Q: How many fellowships will be offered?

A: 20

Q: When will applicants be notified about receiving the fellowship?

A: Fellows will be notified in early March 2022 with a public announcement to follow later that month.

Q: What is an “unrestricted” fellowship?

A: Filmmakers will be funded for one year with monthly stipends, not based on project budgets or project costs, as part of a one-time special fellowship intended to provide a living wage that affords artists the resources to focus on their vision and craft.

Q: If I secure employment during the fellowship period will I be able to continue receiving the fellowship stipend?

A: If you secure employment during the contracting period or fellowship period, you must report it to ITVS to determine if you are still eligible to continue receiving the fellowship stipend and support.

Q: Do I have to develop a single documentary project? What if I decide to pursue more than one idea?

A: You must apply with a single topic for focused research and development during the course of the fellowship. However, the fellowship will support the research that informs any changes or shifts to the project. 

Q: Is the concept I develop with my fellowship guaranteed distribution by ITVS? 

A: No. The fellowship is intended to nurture concepts through the early phases of research and development, positioning it to compete for development and production funding with a full treatment, advisors, and a plan for production, distribution, and engagement.

Q: I am having trouble with the online application form. Can I submit by email or mail?

A: Reasonable accommodations will be made to support all applicants. If you are experiencing difficulty using the online form please contact

Q: What if I have additional questions?

A: You may send an email query with specific questions to  Please understand that we cannot provide status updates. If ITVS needs additional information we will contact you during the review and decision process.

Q: Is there a submission fee to apply?

A: No, there is no submission fee required to apply to any of ITVS's funding initiatives.

Q: How will I know if ITVS has received my proposal?

A: You will receive an email from the application portal and ITVS confirming receipt of your proposal.

Q: Will ITVS provide feedback if my fellowship proposal is not accepted?

No, unfortunately ITVS does not provide feedback on early phase project development proposals. 


Looking for more details? Watch the Sundance co//ab insider session: Applying to Humanities Fellowships with Sundance Institute & ITVS.