The 7k Feature Film Contest is a script competition like no other. The winner gets $7,000 to make a feature film, plus support from a top-notch Advisory Board of indie producers, directors, and writers who have been there, in the indie trenches.

Some impressive careers have been launched off feature films made for $7,000. Think Shane Carruth and Primer, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, or Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi. Both were made for $7,000. And that's back when you had to shoot on film.

Why did we launch this competition? It comes down to a passionately held ethos: for indie filmmakers just starting out, the best thing you can do is get out there and make stuff, and when you do, make it with the resources you have. Yes, that means you'll likely have to shelve your alien invasion script. Don't wait around for funding, or to "get discovered," or - and this is the real danger - delay and delay until you feel like everything is just perfect.

Indie filmmakers today are faced with a tough environment: on the one hand, the technology needed to make movies has never been cheaper or more accessible. But on the other hand, you are truly out there alone - raising money, marketing your film, trying to find distribution, and more. You're expected to be a one-person do-it-all, and that's before you've gotten to the core activities of writing, directing, and shooting.

That's where 7k Films comes in. Inspired by Carruth's example, we provide $7,000 to the best feature film script out there we can find, judged by three criteria:

- Quality of the story & script/treatment (must be producible on a $7k budget) - 50%
- Demonstrated low-budget storytelling chops (work samples, sizzle reel, short film proof of concept, etc.) - 40%
- Our own assessment of the marketability of the project - 10%

The winner gets the money plus support resources to help with marketing & distribution. We take care of the funding. You go make your movie.

Awards & Prizes

7k Films gives grants to filmmakers to make a feature film. The number of grants given each will vary depending on the number of applicants.

The winners of the grant will get:
- $7,000 to make a feature film
- Support & feedback from the 7k Films Advisory Board
- Support resources for distribution, sales, and marketing of the film

Everyone who applies for the grant will get:
- Top level feedback on your submission (first 25 applicants)
- Unprecedented BTS access to the winner's process
- A copy of the finished film of the grant winners

Rules & Terms

Eligibility & Judging:

We are looking for three things:
- A track record of making high quality films on shoe-string budgets. Send us screeners, a link to your Vimeo, or whatever else you think proves the point.
- A great treatment for a feature film, plus 10-20 finished pages of your script.
- A letter and materials which describe how you will make this film on a $7k budget. Send whatever you think is appropriate. This is your chance to explain how to plan to shoot anything in the script which appears to cost a lot of money. Have access to an amazing location for free, or a legion of extras willing to work for peanuts? Here is the chance to tell us stuff like that.

How we'll be making our decision:
- Quality of the story & treatment/script (MUST be producible on a $7k budget) - 50%
- Demonstrated low-budget storytelling chops (work samples, sizzle reel, short film proof of concept, etc.) - 40%
- Our own assessment of the marketability of the project - 10%

FAQ:

- Why $7,000? (And not some other amount?)
7k Films was more or less inspired by Shane Carruth's Primer. Carruth made the film on a budget of $7,000 (and shot on film no less). It ended up winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and, according to Box Office Mojo, went on to make $424,760 in a theatrical release, besides launching Carruth on a distinguished filmmaking career.

We don't necessarily expect that degree of success for our projects, but nevertheless we continue to be inspired by what filmmakers can do on very low budgets. Besides, Carruth used a lot of his money just buying the film stock - if he can make Primer on that little money, imagine what you can do. Also, guess who else made their first feature for $7,000? Robert Rodriguez. Who knows, maybe there's something special about the number.

- Can I use the $7k award to supplement other funding options or as part of a larger budget?
In short, no. The whole point is for you to forget about funding and make your movie within the size and scope given. Think of it like the 48 Hour Film Project, but instead of constraining time, we're constraining funding. Besides, if we open it up to being just one funding source out of many, we open it up to precisely the kind of never-ending fundraising procrastination development process we were founded to avoid.

- Can I use the award to adapt a short into a feature?
Definitely, as long as you've still got the other parts of the application, including the feature-length treatment. If you plan to go this route, let us know how much the short cost to make, and what aspects of it (cast? crew? locations?) you plan to use in the feature.

- Is there a timeline for getting the movie made?
Yes. Once we've selected the contest winners, they will have one year to get the film made, including all post-production. If thousands of filmmaking teams can make films in one weekend for the 48 Hour Film Project, we think a year is more than enough time to get a feature made. In order to ensure staying on time, we'll hold monthly conference call check-ins with the filmmakers. Contest award funding will also be contingent on milestones being met, including milestones for pre-production, wrap of principal photography, and final delivery.

- Are there any restrictions on how we can spend the contest money?
Actually, yes. Ten percent of your budget, or $700, must be allocated toward marketing and promotion of your film. Our marketing folks will work with you to decide where best to spend that money, but in most cases it will mean ensuring enough funds to submit to select film festivals, with a bare bones budget allocated for other marketing & promotion materials to be produced.

- What does the Advisory Board do?
They'll be there to help. We've gathered a team of great people together with two main attributes: they're passionate about getting stuff made, and they are fantastic at giving constructive feedback. Some of them will give you notes on the script, while others will ask insightful questions about how you plan to handle production.

- Can the contest award money be used for projects which are not feature films?
No. The point is to make a feature film.

- What about sales, rights and distribution?
You will retain original rights to your film. But also, let's get real: we probably won't make any money off of this, and neither will you. Our greatest desire is that you knock it out of the park, take the festival circuit by storm, and secure theatrical distribution. But just in case that doesn't happen, we retain rights to directly distribute your movie online. All contest winners sign on to a simple deal: proceeds are split 70/30, after we recoup the initial $7k investment (70 percent for the filmmaker, 30 percent for 7k Films). If you're not on board with that, you probably shouldn't apply.

- Any other eligibility restrictions?
Applicants must be 18 years old. International applicants are encouraged, but ultimately the script must be in English and the film must be appropriate for an American audience.