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The most important thing when writing a documentary application, is to describe what it visually is going to show. This is what the commissioners primarily will read. A “pitch” is the best form to start with. The pitch is what you tell people who ask what your movie is about. This is the brief condensed text to make friends and colleagues interested in hearing more.

"Pervert Park" af Frida og Lasse Barkfors

“Pervert Park” by Frida and Lasse Barkfors

Although the reasons why a documentary should be made, what it is about and how you have started the project is important, it is first and foremost the film the commissioners will envision when they read your application. It can be difficult. Especially for some documentaries, for example film that sets out to investigate or explore “unknown territory”. But you rarely get a grant without making the effort.

Make it clear, that film is the best medium. The story must be told in stunning images and expressive soundstage. If, for example, a feature article is better to get the message across, the commissioners will quickly be aware of this.

It is also wise to relate to film history as well as the long film tradition. Portrait movies, travel films, anthropological film, personal film, investigative film – when you want to describe a film it is a good idea to describe it according to genres and traditions.

In Europe it is common to use sources 2-model developed by David Wingate and others, when you make a project presentation. The outline made be the Film Workshop covers all the points. But if you submit supplementary material, you can use the outline below as inspiration

  1. Cover Letter

a. Presentation of the project, 2-3 lines

2. Designate / facts –sheet

a. Name of project

b. The date of the presentation

c. Names of key people

d. Contact information

3. One-page presentation

a. Clear, legible and appetizing description of the project

4. Content

5. What are you going to film?

a. Location, people, relationships

b.  Procedural processes

c. Structural options

6. Why film?

a. Motivation

b. Intention

7. Access

a. Locations, institutions

b. Persons, experts

c. Archives

8. About the filmmakers

a. C.V., track records

b.  Personal approach, relationships and motivations

9.   Supplementary material

a. Stills, video, etc.

10.  Budget, finance, production planning, distribution,