CMG Action Grant & Pitch Session at CIFF

CMG is excited to be able to offer an action grant in partnership with the 2015 Camden International Film Festival & Points North Documentary Forum.

CMG and CIFF have partnered to award at least one $5,000–10,000 grant for a project that uses video to create measurable action in ocean conservation or sustainable energy. We are accepting applications from August 4 to August 28. Finalists will be invited to CIFF in Camden, Maine for a one-on-one pitch session with CMG commissioners.

CMG distributes a limited number of Action Grants each year to catalyze the production & distribution of a short video or series of short videos with a clear and measurable call to action. These grants are awarded through partnerships with established conservation organizations and film festivals, such as the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the Camden International Film Festival, and the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program.

Action Grant Amounts


Who Can Apply

• Filmmakers of all ages and experience levels, including students. All filmmakers are required to submit a sample of previous work from a project over which they had creative control.

• Organizations with an environmental mission, including both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including those for whom this is the first foray into video production & distribution.

Grant Guidelines

The proposed project must include:

• A theme that relates to creating change in ocean conservation or sustainable energy.

• A video concept that is engaging, unique, and strategic.

• Total video length under 5 minutes. Applicants may submit an idea that includes multiple videos whose total run time is less than 5 min.

• A clearly defined target audience associated with the call to action and distribution plan. Target audiences could include millions of people, a single community or even a single person.

• A clear call to action and a strategic plan for measuring impact in a meaningful way. These may include a petition, a vote, event attendance, pledges, sign-ups - or something creative. This does NOT include “vanity metrics” such as shares, likes, or views.

• A strategic plan for distribution that specifies how the video(s) will engage audiences social media or other channels. Partnerships for distribution & impact (either confirmed or proposed) are a bonus, especially for individual filmmakers.

• All organizations are required to submit a link to materials from a previous or ongoing outreach campaign; filmmakers will submit work samples.

Projects can be national or international; they do not need to be about Maine, or have production in Maine.

Criteria for Selection

• Video concept is directly related to important issues in ocean conservation or the shift to renewable energy.

• Concept is clear and appropriate for length, audience, and call to action.

• Clear link between target audience and suggested action.

• Clarity of desired action & social impact, as well as a concrete plan for measurement.

• Previous experience with videos for action will be considered, but not required.

• Video project may involve launching a new campaign, or work within an existing campaign.

The Commissioners

CMG Action Grant commissioners at the Camden International Film Festival will include the following individuals from CMG: founder David Conover, director/COO Liz Smith, and program coordinator Amy Files. Final decisions for CMG Action Grant finalists and recipients will be made by CMG staff.

Grant Requirements

• Grant must cover the entire cost of production, distribution and measurement with the exception of in-kind contributions from the grantee or other partners.

• Funds may only be used for approved pre-production, production, distribution and measurement costs.

• Grant is disbursed from charitable funds and must be used in compliance with CMG guidelines. Grant funds may not be used with the intention of making profit.

• Additional partners and grants are welcome; however, CMG Action Grant funds must account for 100% of total cash budget.

• Grantee can receive mentorship, input or advice from partners and CMG staff, but must retain complete creative control over the final video(s).

• Final video(s) must be licensed under Creative Commons with Attribution.

• A proposed budget, project outline and grant legal agreement will be required before initial half of funds are dispersed.

• A closing report is required, including the final video(s), final budget, expense report, summary of measurement tools and recorded impact results before final half of funds are dispersed.


How It Works

Application Process

Interested filmmakers and organizations need to submit an application on or before the deadline. Applications will then be reviewed and finalists notified within 1 week of the application deadline. All finalists will receive up to 2 All Access festival passes to the Camden International Film Festival, which takes place September 17–20. These passes are only available to creative collaborators who will be attending the pitch.

Pitch Process

Finalists will be given a one-on-one pitch session time on Friday, September 18 in Camden, Maine. Finalists are required to attend their pitch session in person to be considered for the CMG Action Grant.

Decision & Announcement

At least one individual or organization will receive a grant of $5,000-$10,000 for their pitched project. Grant recipients will be announced at the award ceremony prior to CIFF’s Closing Night screening on Sunday, September 20. Grant disbursement will be made in the following weeks, pending the delivery of required project, budget and legal documents to Conservation Media Group.

Application Timeline

Tuesday, August 4, 2015: Applications Open

Friday, August 21, 2015: Application Deadline (EXTENDED TO Friday, August 28)

Wednesday, Sept 2, 2015: Finalists Notified

Friday, September 18, 2015: CMG Action Grant Pitch Meetings at CIFF in Camden, Maine



If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Amy Files at


About the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Documentary Forum

Founded in 2005 and recognized as one of the top 12 documentary film festivals in the world (indieWIRE), the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) brings the finest non-fiction cinema to the rugged coast of Maine, showcasing over 80 documentary feature and short films from around the globe each fall. Additional year-round programming includes the CIFF Selects screening series and the Engagement Summit, a unique program that connects Maine-based nonprofit leaders with documentary films and filmmakers to develop community-based social action campaigns. The Points North Documentary Forum provides emerging documentarians with opportunities for professional development and creative inspiration. The forum nurtures new voices in documentary media who are pushing the boundaries of the form and re-imagining the role of nonfiction storytelling in society. Programs include the year-round Points North Fellowship, masterclasses, workshops and international short-form pitch opportunities such as The New York Times' Op Docs Pitch (2013), the AJ+ Pitch (2014) and the Camden/TFI Retreat (2015). Past industry participants in the Forum include HBO, A&E, BBC, Participant Media, Al Jazeera America, Discovery, PBS, Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute, Vimeo and Kickstarter. The 2015 Camden International Film Festival and Points North Documentary Forum will take place September 17–20 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine.