CMG Filmmakers-in-Residence

Conservation Media Group selects emerging or established conservation communicators as Filmmakers-in-Residence (FIRs) who then receive funding to complete work from start to finish on a video-based project with a focus on providing sanctuary for marine life, reducing ocean plastic at its source, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Funding amounts range from $5,000-$15,000 per resident. FIR's also receive residence at one of our annual 5-day Catalyst Workshops and may be offered up to 2 weeks in residence at our CMG offices in Camden, Maine.

What is the CMG Filmmaker-in-Residence (FIR) Program?

CMG seeks emerging or established conservation filmmakers, communicators and artists who wish to develop and complete a project focused on providing sanctuary for marine life, reducing ocean plastic at its source, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Selected residents receive funding for their project that includes an honorarium as well as travel to and residence at one of our Catalyst Workshops. Residents may also be offered 1–3 weeks in residence with full room and board at our CMG offices in Camden, Maine, depending on project applicability. Resident proposals may seek to create a video that addresses local, national, or international issues in our CMG Focus Areas. Residents may be based anywhere in the world, though North American candidates will be considered first due to travel costs & logistics of attending the Catalyst Workshops.

While in residence at the Catalyst Workshops and/or CMG offices, residents conduct pre-production and post-production work with support and mentorship from our staff. During the Catalyst Workshops, residents spend most of their time on their existing project-in-progress, but will also engage with other workshop participants, screen residency work and join in on relevant discussions. Included in the Filmmaker-in-Residence award is funding for development, production, post-production and distribution. The award may include in-kind funding in the form of borrowed equipment, room and board, and staff time. The award also includes a resident honorarium for the length of the residence.

What is required for a CMG Filmmaker-in-Residence project?

  • Residents should aim to use video that explores pressing topics, need for action, and desired impacts in our CMG Focus Areas: providing sanctuary for marine life, reducing ocean plastic at its source, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Proposals that do not work specifically in one of these focus areas will not be considered.
  • Video concepts should be engaging, unique, and may explore the multi-medium use of video, such as using video in museum settings, exploring intersections of video and technology, or pushing boundaries of how we interact with audiences through video. We encourage projects that think outside the box for how video may be used to create impact.
  • Finished length of final video must be from 1-15 minutes, but the project may be comprised of multiple videos with a total run time of under 15 minutes. For example, a project could be one 15-minute film, two 5-minute films, or seven 2-minute films. Projects with a final total run time of less than 15 minutes will be considred; however, total runs times of more than 15 minutes will not be considered.
  • A target audience should be clearly defined. Target audiences could include millions of people, or even a single individual, but should be thoughtfully determined with a specific result in mind. Projects whose audiences are defined as "everyone" or "ages 6-100" will not considered. Please be as specific as possible as to who you are trying to reach & why.
  • A detailed plan for distribution should specify how the video will reach and engage with the target audience, whether through social media, traditional media or in-person events and networks. Projects should be aiming for distribution where their audience is located; and are not required to be used on social media if that is not where the intended audience is.
  • Partnerships with organizations for production, distribution, and impact may be included, but are not required as they are for other CMG programs. The FIR is focused on pushing the boundaries of creativity that may otherwise not be possible when a project is funded for hire. However, proof of partnership with organizations, especially for distribution, is recommended for a competitive FIR proposal.

Special Considerations for CMG Residencies

Creative Freedom. CMG ensures that residents are allowed full creative freedom for the content of their projects; however, the project subject matter, overall purpose and timeline must remain intact as proposed, unless changes are approved by CMG.

License. Grantees are required to license their projects under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. This license allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially. This licensing is in place so that all resident projects are non-commercial and easily shareable while remaining the property of the resident.

Charitable Funds. CMG residency awards are disbursed from charitable funds and must be used in compliance with CMG guidelines. Award funds may not be used with the intention of making profit.

CMG is especially interested in proposals that are innovative in their use of video, such as utilizing user-generated content, reaching outside of the usual audience for conservation film, and/or working on a different platform such as VR.  


The FIR Process

Proposal & Award. Following initial application, a resident finalist will be offered an upcoming position as a Filmmaker-in-Residence with details of the resident award and what it includes. The resident finalist is then expected to submit a detailed project outline, key dates timeline, and line-by-line budget. Upon final approval and award, CMG will then disburse 50% of the award amount to the resident. The second 50% of the award amount is payable upon completion of post-production & final video submission to CMG.

Project Timeline. Residents are expected to work independently to take their project from development to distribution with support and guidance from CMG staff. During the course of their project, residents may be offered resident time at the CMG offices to conduct pre-production, production, or post-production work. Filmmakers are required to be at residence at one of CMG's Catalyst Workshops for 5-6 days. During their workshop time, residents will present their project-in-progress to the workshop group for support and feedback.

Reporting: CMG residents are required to submit reports throughout the term of the residency, including updates on activities, accomplishments, and expenses, as well as media documenting the progress of the project such as photos of production or distribution events.

Residency Close: CMG resident projects will not be considered closed until a final report is submitted, including a project expense report and detailed impact measurements following distribution & engagement.

View our Grantmaking Policies & Procedures

Current FIR Opportunities: Applications for the Filmmaker-In-Residence program are currently closed. Please check back again.

Sign Up to Receive Updates When Submissions Are Open

Current & Past Filmmakers-in-Residence