SFFILM Rainin Grants & Programs - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

SFFILM Rainin Grants & Programs

Managed by SFFILM and supported by the Rainin Foundation, these grants and programs support filmmakers as they develop their careers.

The Rainin Foundation’s unique partnership with SFFILM began in 2009 with the SFFILM Rainin Grant program, which is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the United States. The following grants and programs offer assistance and opportunities to champion filmmakers. Learn more on SFFILM’s website and contact SFFILM directly with questions.

Narrative Film Grants

SFFILM Rainin Grants support narrative feature film projects internationally that address social justice issues and benefit and uplift the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. Narrative film is a powerful medium that has the potential to inspire social change. Awards are made to 15-20 projects once a year in the fall for screenwriting, development or post-production.

The SFFILM Rainin Grant program has awarded over $6 million to more than 175 projects since its inception in 2009, including Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth, Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Boots Riley’s indie phenomenon Sorry to Bother You, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters and Men, Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, and Ben Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon Beasts of the Southern Wild. We are incredibly proud to be associated with these films and grateful to SFFILM for their partnership.

Boots Riley and LaKeith Stanfield smiling at each other on the set of the "Sorry To Bother You" film.
Lakeith Stanfield (left) and director Boots Riley on the set of “Sorry to Bother You,” an Annapurna Pictures release. Photo credit: Peter Prato / Annapurna Pictures

Filmmakers With Disabilities Grants

At the core of the Rainin Foundation’s partnership with SFFILM is ensuring that historically excluded communities have access to financial and artistic support to create a more inclusive film landscape. The SFFILM Rainin Filmmakers with Disabilities Grant, introduced in 2020, funds Bay Area-based filmmakers whose films specifically address stories from the disability community. These grants are awarded to filmmakers who apply for an SFFILM Rainin Grant.

SFFILM FilmHouse Residency

SFFILM’s FilmHouse Residency is the only year-round, mentor-driven residency program in the United States. It supports emerging Bay Area-based documentary and narrative filmmakers with artistic guidance, office space, a vibrant creative community and support from established film industry professionals.

In a reflection of an unmarked storefront is a grayish silhouette of a man using an electric wheelchair. Behind the man is a spectacular red and yellow circus tent.
A still image from Reid Davenport’s film on disability and perception, “I Didn’t See You There.” Photo by Reid Davenport, courtesy of SFFILM.