Please read the following list of FAQ’s before applying.


Q: Do I have to be on the Documentary Australia ‘approved’ list before I can apply?
A: Yes. You need to apply and be accepted by Documentary Australia first. We cannot accept film projects before they’ve been approved by Documentary Australia.

Q: Do you accept submissions from first-time filmmakers?
A: Yes! We hope to support filmmakers at all stages of their careers but there must be a range of experience across the team.

Q: Is there a deadline for applications?
A: No. We accept applications on a year-round basis and review projects as they come in.

Q: What will I need to submit to be considered?
A: You’ll need to fill in an online application form (from the ‘Grants’ page) which includes:

  • An overview of your project
  • A description of the team
  • A strategy for funding and releasing the film
  • A budget (for the stage you’re applying for)
  • Footage to share (for Production and Outreach grants only).

Please have a look at the Submission Checklist.

Q: Do I have to pay an entry fee to submit my film?
A: No.

Q: How long will it take to assess my film?
A: 4–8 weeks

Q: Can I call you and ask for advice about my film or my submission?
A: No. We’re a small team and are unable to take telephone enquiries regarding the application process or to give general advice about your film.

Q: Will I need to show you footage?
A: Yes. For production or outreach funding you will need a concept or marketing reel or rough cut.

Q: Will I receive reasons why my application is not successful, or feedback on my application once submitted?
A: No. Unfortunately our limited resources mean we cannot provide details about the status of applications or give any feedback on applications.

Q: What type of documentaries do you fund?
A: Our preference and main focus is on supporting feature-length documentaries (for theatrical release, streaming or broadcast) but we would also consider one-off, serialised or short documentaries.

The length of serialised documentaries and number of episodes will vary depending on release plan.

Q: What types of short documentary films do you support?
A: Any short documentaries up to 40 minutes but they must have an identified pathway to audience, release and outreach plan to be considered. A film festival release strategy alone would not be sufficient.

Q: Do you support other factual formats?
A: No. We do not support factual entertainment, formatted or magazine series, reality television, educational films, news & current affairs or branded content.

Q: If I am successful in securing a development grant, will I receive a production grant?
A: No. The project must be well developed and compelling in its own right in order to receive a production grant. You will need to apply separately for each grant.

Q: Do you support international film teams?
A: No. This is a domestic fund. Our focus is to support the Australian documentary sector and we do not take submissions from international teams. Producers and directors need to be Australian based and the Production Company must have an ABN.

Q: Does the subject of my film need to be Australian?
A: Our focus is funding for stories about Australia and our region.

Q: Do you help with additional funding or make introductions to other foundations?
A: No. We encourage you to pitch your projects to other foundations and funding bodies but we cannot make introductions for you.

Q: Will we need to credit Shark Island Foundation?
A: Yes. If successful, we will enter into an agreement and expect to be credited, including presentation credits, depending on the level of grant in relation to other sources of funding.

Q: Will you be the Executive Producer of the film?
A: No. We do not take an Executive Producer role. We want film teams to have the creative independence to fund and produce the films themselves.

Q: Will you watch cuts of the film?
A: Yes. We’d want to see the film at rough cut and fine cut and offer feedback at both stages.

Q: If I’m successful what will I be required to provide to the Foundation?
A: One digital copy of the film, EPK & marketing materials, reports at agreed milestones. This will be laid out in the agreement.

Q: Will there be other requirements of the film team?
A: We consider this a true partnership and we’d request filmmakers to make the film available and to attend screenings hosted by Shark Island Foundation for members of the philanthropic community and guests.

Q: If I’m successful when will I get paid the grant?
A: For Development and Outreach grants you will be paid in 2 instalments once the plan, budget and reporting milestones have been agreed on.
A: For Production you will be paid as part of an agreed drawdown schedule once the film is fully financed. We will enter into an agreement with you that will outline terms and conditions of the grant.

Q: Can Shark Island Foundation cancel or rescind a grant?
A: Yes. Shark Island may rescind or cancel a grant if there are material changes to the story that haven’t been communicated; if agreed milestones haven’t been met or for other breaches of the agreement or changes in the original proposal.