DCEFF Vantage Grant

For Emerging BIPOC Filmmakers

Grant Description

It is widely known that the harms from climate change fall disproportionately upon underserved communities, and particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. This invokes the need to consider the racial inequities that result from various environmental issues. While many films in recent years have addressed environmental disparities, most of these are made by filmmakers who do not identify with the communities they portray. The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) is committed to expanding the storytelling pipeline, amplifying the voices and supporting the work of emerging BIPOC filmmakers with a commitment grant. The $12,500 DCEFF Vantage Grant was bestowed to an emerging BIPOC filmmaker, working on a short film or their first feature, addressing a timely environmental issue at any stage of pre-production through post-production. The grant was the culminating award given to a winning pitch, presented live at the 31st Annual DCEFF on March 26, 2023. Read the Press Release.


The Pitch Process

On December 13, 2022, DCEFF opened pitch project submissions on FilmFreeway, from which 4-6 emerging BIPOC filmmakers were selected to present their project in a live pitch in front of a panel of industry and environmental leaders and subject experts. All finalists received extensive pitch training from Judith Helfand, co-creator of Chicken & Egg Pictures, filmmaker (A Healthy Baby Girl, Blue Vinyl, Cooked: Survival By Zip Code) and professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Helfand also emceed the live pitch program. Travel and hospitality was provided to all pitch finalists to attend the Festival. Additionally, all of the pitch presenters received feedback on their projects from the industry panel, with one project awarded the $12,500 DCEFF Vantage Grant, as determined by the panel. All remaining finalists received $500.



  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Filmmaker (Director or Producer)
  • Emerging (not yet made a feature-length film)
  • Pitch project is a short or feature on an environmental theme*
  • Must be in stage: Research and development, pre-production, production, or post-production
  • If selected, pitch presenter must be available to attend, and travel from within the US (travel support from within the US only)
  • If selected, you must be able to present in English


*DCEFF defines environmental as any theme broadly related to the natural and built environment. Examples include (but are not limited to): conservation, climate change, environmental justice, Indigenous perspectives, advocacy and activism, and sustainability.


Important Dates

  • December 13, 2022: Applications opened
  • January 20, 2023: Applications closed
  • February 17, 2023: Pitch finalists were notified
  • March 26, 2023: Live pitch at DCEFF


The DCEFF Vantage Grant is made possible through the support of Prince Charitable Trusts.