Sept GET-OUT-VOTE Grants



With an unprecedented public health crisis being exacerbated by environmental and climate impacts, and with demands for fundamental change on the rise, this is the moment to connect the issues we face to the importance of civic engagement. This is the moment to leverage the power of filmmaking to help us imagine our best future. The Redford Center is working alongside leading film and impact- focused organizations – LCV Education Fund, Far Star Action Fund, Pacific Islanders in Communications and Working Films – to offer a unique and timely, work-for-hire opportunity for filmmakers to create or repurpose work that can make an impact on civic engagement and voter participation. The project also includes Culture Surge, a network of culture-makers and others who are supporting creatives to make effective content that will reach and inspire millions of low- propensity and would-be voters.

What stories are needed?

The Redford Center is looking to hire filmmakers to create nonpartisan, short films ranging in length from 30 seconds to 4 minutes that motivate critical audiences to use their vote and become civically engaged. Keying off Culture Surge’s newly released and research-backed storytelling guidance, filmmakers are invited to connect their film’s narrative to one or more of the following six inspirational storytelling threads:

  1. “Together, we have power”: Stories of personal & collective power
  2. “There is abundance”: Stories that show there's more than enough for everyone
  3. “We lead by caring about each other”: Stories of people collaboratively leading the way to make change, that show people caring about each other and their communities
  4. “We deserve joy”: Stories of joy and self-care
  5. “We all belong”: Stories of our common mission, that show we all belong and have value
  6. “Curiosity is the path to our best future”: Stories of curiosity about each other and society, stories of people asking bold questions about the future they want to build

Film ideas selected will also include a specific environmental theme, message or core story that will be part of a collective call to action for civic engagement. This is an opportunity to invite significantly more people to get active and, importantly, to help shift perceptions about what it means to be an environmentalist and what it means to be a voter.

Stories centering first time voters, youth voters and/or voters representing communities directly impacted by environmental pollution, destruction and/or injustice will be prioritized.

We are looking for projects where the artist(s) have personal connections to the story being told, are telling the story through a cultural lens, and can ensure accountability to and authentic representation of the people and places featured in the film.

Below are some examples of effective environmentally oriented Get Out The Vote and civic engagement-focused content:


Who should the content speak to?

Our target audience is those who have been historically underinvested in when it comes to civic engagement outreach and those who are deeply affected by climate and environmental impacts.

We aim to reach communities of color, young people, and women as film has a critical role to play in drawing these audiences in – inspiring voter engagement, serving as an entry point for lifelong leadership, civic engagement and participation in the movement for environmental justice, protection and repair. Though we don’t require content to be specific to any particular state, we do have distribution channels we can access through Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Please do let us know if your content is specific to issues, events, or communities in those states.


What are the Calls to Action?

We ask that filmmakers incorporate at least one of the four important voter Calls to Action that are listed below. These Calls to Action (CTAs) are pretty simple, and Culture Surge offers plenty of alternative phrases (33 to be exact!) to help you articulate these points. See Appendix A for the full list of 33. You don’t have to use the CTAs word-for-word, nor will we dictate how or where you include them with your film, as long as your film will inspire your audience to take action.

•       Register to Vote

  • Vote Early, Vote Safely

•       Organize Friends and Family to Vote



As we aim to fast track this effort to meet the current moment, the most important dates include:

  • September 11, 2020 | All Project Proposals Due
  • September 21, 2020 | *Mandatory: Artist Briefing for Selected Projects
  • October 9, 2020 | Rough Cut Due
  • October 16, 2020 | Final Cut Due
  • October 19, 2020 | Distribution Begins

We recognize that this is a tight turnaround and some artists might not be able to participate. The Redford Center will offer future funding and engagement opportunities, so please stay in touch with us.

*Artist Briefing. The Redford Center and Culture Surge will host a 2-hour Artist Briefing on September 21, 2020 from 12pm-2pm PST to review the narrative strategies and stories that will best help frontline communities use their voices and votes. Applicants must be able to confirm that they can attend this briefing on Monday, September 21.



This project aims to provide payments of up to $5,000 per project to between five and ten artists to support their participation and content creation. Artists whose pitches are accepted will be expected to provide a budget for the content not to exceed $5,000. Upon approval of the budget, artists will be paid in two installments, 50% upon mutual agreement of the project, and the remaining 50% upon delivery of the final cut. We are interested in both the creation of new, 30-90 second films as well as films under 4 minutes created through the repurposing of existing content that could be excerpted and refreshed to support the core story threads and CTAs listed.


Application & Proposal Requirements

All content proposals are due to by 5pm PST, September 11, 2020 and should include the subject line “GOTV proposal”. All applicants must attend a mandatory two- hour Artist Briefing on September 21, 2020 from 12pm-2pm PST.

Content proposals must be under 2 pages and include the following information:

  • Working title
  • Project description (300 words max)
    • Describe the story you want to tell.
    • Name which of the six core story threads will be included and which CTA(s).
    • Explain the environmental story/connection.
  • Character and story information (200 words max)
    • Describe your personal connection to the story being told and if/how you are telling the story through a cultural lens.
    • Share how you are approaching being accountable to and authentically representing the people and places featured in the film.
    • Do you currently have, or will you be able to obtain by the deadline releases for all those featured in your short film?
  • Content capture and location (200 words max)
    • Explain if you will be filming new content, repurposing footage or both.
    • If you are repurposing footage, please confirm that you have full rights and access to the content you are repurposing.
    • Please let us know if your content is specifically relevant to issues, events, or communities in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina or Wisconsin.
  • Expected length of piece (must be between 30 seconds and 4 minutes)
  • Filmmaker name(s), background(s) and work experience (200 words max)
  • Top line budget for project, $5,000 maximum payment.


About Us

The Redford Center was co-founded in 2005 by Robert Redford and his son James and draws on the family’s deep expertise in filmmaking and activism to build and support the movement toward environmental justice, protection and repair. We produce, fund and fiscally sponsor impact-driven media projects that showcase stories of individuals taking action to create a just transition to a healthier future for all. Our films and impact campaigns are designed to engage significantly more people, and a more diverse population, in addressing environmental and climate issues while lifting up the stories and storytellers living on the frontlines.

Culture Surge is a women-of-color led network of storytellers, artists, organizers, media partners and other change agents working together in this vital moment for the survival of our communities, our democracy and our shared future. Culture Surge strategically supports creatives to create effective aspirational and informational content that will reach millions of low-propensity and would-be voters with trusted information. Our network includes over 700 artists, organizers and strategists, 25 partner organizations (each with their own networks of hundreds of artists and organizers), and in-depth partnerships focused on specific communities, art forms and activation moments. Our Anchor Partners are The League, The Center for Cultural Power, IllumiNative and Harness. Culture Surge is housed at Harness and receives operational oversight from Harness’s fiscal sponsor, California Community Foundation Community Initiatives Fund.

Far Star Action Fund empowers filmmakers, organizations and engaged audiences to move their passion into action.

LCV Education Fund advocates for strong environmental protections, organizes communities to speak up about their environmental values, and engages people in the democratic process in order to enact strong environmental laws. We believe that a strong democracy is the foundation to a safe environment. To build a more just and equitable democracy that is responsive to all people and their will to protect the planet, LCVEF is improving access to and trust in our democracy, so communities that our country has systematically excluded can reclaim their rightful influence. The communities that are most affected by climate change, pollution and environmental injustice are the same ones that are left out of the democratic process for far too long. That’s why we are specifically working to connect single women, people of color, and young people under 35 to our country’s civic process because our democracy fails when any voices are excluded.

Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) was established in 1991 and is the only national public media organization that supports media content and its makers to work together to promote a deeper understanding of Pacific Islander history, culture and contemporary issues that define our communities. PIC addresses the need for media content that reflects America’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity by funding independently produced media, and by providing hundreds of hours of innovative media by and about Pacific Islanders to American public television including its flagship series Pacific Heartbeat.

Working Films brings the worlds of documentary filmmaking and social justice together. On issues like racism, income inequity, and the climate crisis, we believe film has a unique power to shift the story and drive change in local communities across states throughout the nation. Our mission is to position documentary films to advance social and environmental justice. We help grassroots organizers utilize films as a resource. And we offer funding and technical assistance to underrepresented filmmakers who we connect with new audiences through our efforts.


Appendix A: Alternative Phrases for CTA’s

Content creators and cultural campaigns can use the language below with their audience to promote the most important actions they need to take. Pull from this list directly or use these to inspire the messaging behind your content.


Register to Vote

  • Step into your power. Click here and register to vote.
  • Register to vote. The easiest part of 2020!
  • It takes less than 2 minutes. Register now!
  • Vote like you mean it. Register here.
  • You can make a difference. Register to vote.
  • Don’t miss out on this moment. Check your voter registration now.


Vote Early, Stay Safe

  • Early voting is safe voting.
  • Mask up and vote early!
  • Know your voting rights. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE for help
  • On the agenda: 1) work from home 2) drink water 3) vote early
  • Participate in democracy. Vote early.
  • Mail-in your ballot! Everyone is doing it.


Organize Friends and Family to Vote

  • Miss party planning? Form a vote squad.
  • Vote party at the polls! Yes, you get a plus 1.
  • Your friends are voting. Join them!
  • Show you care. Vote together.
  • Spread the love. Form your vote squad today!
  • Vote. Together we are better.
  • I am voting for your future, and you are voting for mine.
  • Vote like our futures are bound together.
  • When we vote, we make history.
  • Get to the polls! Family and friends welcome.
  • Friends don’t let friends vote alone.


Make Your Vote Plan

  • Phone. Keys. Wallet. Mask. Vote.
  • Pick a time and a place. Find your polling place here.
  • Wear a mask, wash your hands, and vote!
  • Mask up and vote!
  • Decide how you want to vote now.
  • Now is the time to choose how you vote. Mask or Mail?
  • Are you on team #MaskorMail?
  • The early bird gets their vote counted.
  • Here’s my vote plan. What’s yours?
  • When, where, and how will you vote?
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