The Community Builders Grant is a short-form film fund and production resources grant sponsored by Camera Ambassador. Our mission is to help build bridges between filmmakers and the community while elevating their production by arming them with the necessary tools to create. This grant supports artists with varying levels of experience, both to recognize accomplished individuals, as well as to provide opportunities for young and emerging artists.


The general application fee for the grant is $10. The application fee for students is $5. All funds will go directly to the cost of organizing the grant. If you are unable to cover your application fee, contact us for other options. We want to ensure that everyone is able to apply.

Applications will open Monday, March 1st and close at 11:59pm March 31st, 2021.


For more information about the 2021 grant, email CommunityBuildersGrant@CameraAmbassador.com.

$3,000 Cash from Camera Ambassador

$5,000 Gear Credit from Camera Ambassador

Free Entry to Six of Camera Ambassador’s Bootcamps for Filmmakers

Free Color Grading by The Mill Chicago

One Day of BTS Photography from Emma Thatcher Photography

1-2 Hour Consultation with the Chicago Film Office

One year Membership with the Independent Film Alliance

$500 Credit towards a Casting Session with Compass Casting

Two Industry Days Passes from the Chicago International Film Festival

50% Off One Day of COVID Safety Services from Chicago Compliance Specialists

A Promotional Interview with The Walkie Check Podcast

Application waiver for the Midwest Film Festival


1. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.

2. Project must be shot in the Midwest - We are about building our local community.

3. Your final project must be fifteen minutes or under in length. This is a short film fund.

4. Must be at least 21 years old by March 31st, 2021.

5. Must be a working artist with at least three years of professional experience.

6. Students with experience can apply. If you are a student, please mention that in the application.


1. No long format - This is a short film grant. All submissions must be 15:00 minutes or under. Submit music videos, short narrative films, art films, trailers or any other type of film or video under 15 minutes total. Anything over will not be reviewed.

2. Projects must be in advanced stages of the pre-production process. This means projects must have at least one producer attached.

3. Gear stipend not redeemable for cash.

4. Must include all materials listed to be reviewed.

5. Must be used within the determined and discussed timeline.

6. Gear is subject to availability, you must lock in gear list as soon as possible.

7. All gear subject to Camera Ambassador's regular terms and conditions.

8. Camera Ambassador will shoot BTS photos on set for one day of production. The selected date will be discussed with the artist in advance, determined by the best fit. We don’t want to be in the way!

9. If gear credit does not cover the full cost of gear and you are not using personal gear, all other equipment must be rented through Camera Ambassador. We will be happy to work with you on budget.

10. A cut of your project must be submitted to Camera Ambassador by December 31st, 2021.


When applying via FilmFreeway, you must create a new project in your FilmFreeway account. While creating your new project, make sure to do the following:

1. Select “Script” under “Project Type.”

2. Mark your project as being from the United States.

3. After you save your project, a pop up window will appear. Select “Add Project File” to upload your project PDF.

4. The following items must be submitted AS A SINGLE PDF under “project file.” (See next section.)


(In no particular order.)

1. Current script or treatment (it’s okay if it’s the first draft).

2. Current Budget

3. Tentative Production Timeline

4. Current Key Partner Bios (creators, producers, directors, DP, talent, etc.)

5. Social media handles and links to high res photographs of all key members.


1. All completed applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges, starting in April.

2. Finalists will be announced May 21st, 2021. All finalists will be notified via email and social media.

3. Finalists will pitch at the Community Builders Grant Pitch Event on June 3rd, 2021.

4. The winner will be announced shortly after the Pitch Event in June 2021.