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HBO New True Stories Funding Initiative

The IFP/HBO New True Stories Funding Initiative supports multi-format non-fiction storytellers in the early stages of development, bringing new work to a visual format.

Please note: We are no longer accepting Letters of Inquiry for this program


The IFP/HBO New True Stories Funding Initiative supports multi-format non-fiction storytellers who are in the early stages of development of new work, or who are bringing new work from non-traditional formats – such as print, audio/podcast, and digital – to a visual format. The Initiative supports a wide range of genres from emerging and experienced makers seeking to bring inspired non-fiction work visually to life via short form, feature length and serialized content. Grants will typically range from $10,000 – $30,000, depending on the scale and scope of the project.


Projects on the arts, humanities, contemporary societal and political issues, and personal documentaries with approaches that range from traditional and character-driven narratives or journalistic perspectives to those more adventurous, creatively risky and formally challenging will all be considered. The key element to supported projects will be that they are stories worth telling from compelling, distinctive and fresh points of view.

Initial funding will most often be used for research, treatment and narrative development, securing access, initial shooting and the production of work samples, trailers, etc. A grant from the fund would usually be the “first money in” from an outside source, though in some cases it could be a supplement to another initial small grant. The opportunity will exist for select grantees to receive follow-up grants for additional development. Projects considered for this grant should not have funding in place from any broadcast or digital platforms or any other US distribution entity. Projects receiving grants under this Initiative will be offered to HBO on a “first-look” basis, giving HBO the first opportunity to make an offer to develop them further.

Funding for this grant is sponsored by HBO Documentary Films.

Letter of Inquiry

Submissions for this initiative are now closed. There are no plans for its continuation. Final grants will be distributed in January/February 2020.