Sloan Distribution Grant

The Sloan Distribution Grant is a $50,000 grant awarded by Film Independent to a film that is entering its distribution phase. Eligible films must depict themes, stories and characters grounded in real science, technology or economics.


  • Applicants must be the producer of a narrative fiction feature film.
  • The film should prominently feature science, mathematics and/or technology in the story and/or have a leading character that is a scientist, engineer or mathematician.
  • Films with innovative marketing and distribution plans are encouraged to apply.
  • All submitted films must be at least 70 minutes in length.
  • Applicants must be legal residents of the United States.
  • Film must be entering its distribution phase.

For more information on the application deadline please visit our applications page.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a New York based, philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that makes grants in three areas: research in science, technology, and economics; quality and diversity of scientific institutions; and public engagement with science. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country–including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC plus six public film schools–and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, the North Fork TV Festival, and Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop over 25 feature films including Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, Thor Klein’s Adventures of a Mathematician, Jessica Oreck’s One Man Dies a Million Times, Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust,  Logan Kibens and Sharon Greene’s Operator, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Matthew Brown‘s The Man Who Knew Infinity. The Foundation has supported feature documentaries such as Picture a Scientist, Coded Bias, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, The Bit Player, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Particle Fever, and Jacques Perrin’s Oceans. The Foundation’s book program includes support for Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, which became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017 and a social and cultural milestone.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit or follow the Foundation at @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.

How to Apply

To be considered for the Alfred P. Sloan Distribution Grant, qualifying filmmakers must submit and online application on the Film Independent website during the application period. The online application includes:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in the grant.
  • Project status and history.
  • A proposal for the distribution and marketing strategy based on current status of the film; including any sales, offers or ongoing negotiations.
  • Bios of key cast and crew, including sales agent and publicist if applicable.
  • A link to view the film online.
  • Logline and synopsis.
  • Non-refundable application fee ($45 for Film Independent Members, $65 for non-Members)

Selection Process

Film Independent will review all submissions and select a maximum of three (3) finalists. Film Independent will require more detailed proposals from the finalists, detailing how they would use the grant funds to add value to their distribution options or support an alternative distribution strategy. The winning filmmaker must become a Film Independent Member.

Selection Criteria

Film Independent employs the following guidelines in making its selections:

  • Uniqueness of vision
  • Original, provocative subject matter
  • Economy of means
  • Percentage of financing from independent sources
  • Well-conceived plan for how to use the grant funds to maximize the audience for one’s film

Overseeing the Award

Film Independent staff will oversee the distribution of funds to the winning filmmaker and will monitor the way(s) in which those funds are used.

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