Film and media arts encompass a variety of genres, forms, and creative practices acting as a catalyst for cultural and social impact by creating space for reflection and dialogue. A diversity of film and media arts ecosystems exist and are comprised of individuals, collectives, organizations, institutions, and networks rooted in rural, urban, suburban and tribal communities. Through community-based partnerships and cross-sector collaborations, these ecosystems contribute to regional creative economies, incubate creative talent, and lead the charge on diversity and representation within the entertainment industry and beyond, including fields of science, education services, and technology.

The NEA strengthens these film and media arts ecosystems by supporting programs and initiatives offering meaningful opportunities for artists, audiences, and communities. We recognize the ever-expanding scope of the film and media arts field, and provide support across the spectrum of creative practices, including (but not limited to) traditional, experimental, hybrid, and expanded genres and forms of storytelling, artistic expression, and performance through film, cinema, audio, broadcast, creative code and computation, interactive media, and emergent practices at the intersection of arts and digital technology.

Project Types

We encourage proposals from non-profit film and media arts organizations, presenting entities (such as festivals, independent cinemas, exhibition spaces, non-commercial distributors), public broadcast entities, community-based and social-issue organizations, colleges and universities, and other cultural institutions that address the areas of interest outlined in the general Grants for Arts Projects program description, and include one or more of the following activities:

  • Artist support programs intended to support professional careers or build inclusive pathways into the film and media arts field through creation-based and exhibition opportunities, access to equipment and technical facilities, training, industry mentorship and networking, project incubation and development labs, artist residencies, fellowships, apprenticeships, commissions, and creative workforce development initiatives;
  • Public engagement programs intended to directly connect audiences with local, regional, national, or global artists, community arts practitioners, art works, or artistic processes, such as curated festivals, exhibitions, or event series with presentations, workshops, lectures, panels, touring programs, and other distribution-based activities intended to deepen appreciation and understanding of film and media arts;
  • Services to the field intended to improve the overall capacity and capabilities of artists, arts workers, and arts organizations within the film and media arts sector, such as regional field-building strategies, conferences, convenings, consortia, field studies and reports, leadership trainings, mentorships, and other professional development opportunities.

Competitive proposals will address elements as stated in the application review criteria, and align with one or more of these intentions:  

  • Have regional, national, or field-wide significance. This includes local projects that can have significant impact within communities or are likely to demonstrate exemplary models for the film and media arts field;
  • Advance regional strategies and cross-sector partnerships in service of strengthening film and media arts ecosystems and creative industry pipelines with an eye toward the future. This includes projects that contribute to sustaining long-lasting relationships between film and media arts communities, the broader cultural ecosystem, and non-arts sectors across the United States;
  • Promote the health and well-being of people and their communities through film and media arts activities. This includes proposals addressing local issues, uplifting the power of storytelling and personal expression, or advancing digital equity by bridging digital divides and building digital skills;
  • Actively reduce socioeconomic and other barriers to access for artists, audiences, and community members whose opportunities to experience or participate in media arts are limited by factors such as geography, race or ethnicity, economics, or disability;
  • Build audiences and appreciation for film and media artists, works, genres, forms, and creative processes that are currently, or have historically been, underrepresented. This includes proposals increasing organizational capacity to support emergent and interdisciplinary creative practices rooted in the use of code, computation, and data (resources available on the Media Arts impact page).

In some cases, a project that involves film and media arts may be better suited for review in another discipline. Review the Artistic Disciplines page for more information, including guidance on educational projects.

For questions, including help choosing the right discipline, contact NEA staff:
Emma Bartley, or 202-682-5591
Avril Claytor, or 202-682-5028

Compliance Reminders:

The NEA is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Please note the following:

  • Civil Rights Laws and Policies: As a reminder, in the federal-funding context, a focus on a particular group or demographic may be permissible, but exclusion is not. This extends to hiring practices, artist selection processes, and audience engagement. Your application should make it clear that project activities are not exclusionary. Please review the Assurance of Compliance, as well as NEA Civil Rights guidance on our website, including this archived webinar: Things to Know Before You Apply: Federal Civil Rights and Your Grants Application.
  • Accessibility: Federal regulations require that all NEA-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities may be audiences, visitors, artists, performers, teaching artists, students, staff, and volunteers. Funded activities should be held in a physically accessible venue, and program access and effective communication should be provided for participants and audience members with disabilities. If your project is recommended for funding, you will be asked to provide detailed information describing how you will make your project physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities.
  • National Historic Preservation Act and/or the National Environmental Policy Act Review: Recommended projects may be subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance review. See more information about NHPA/NEPA review under Award Administration.


Grants for Arts Projects applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described above) are accepted at both deadlines. Apply at the deadline that most closely fits the schedule of activities or timeline of your proposed project. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Grants for Arts Projects category.

Organizations must apply directly on their own behalf; applications through a fiscal sponsor/agent are not allowed.

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to

February 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens

Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal

February 21-28, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

November 2024

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

January 1, 2025

Second Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to

July 11, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens

Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal

July 16-23, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

April 2025

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

June 1, 2025