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Edet Belzberg is a documentary filmmaker whose coverage of the life of Romanian street children in the film "Childeren Underground" won her both acclaim and criticism for its depiction of[…]

Edet Belzberg explains the ins and outs of applying for funding.

Question: Where would you suggest future documentary filmmakers to go to find grants?

Edet Belzburg:  There are a lot of sources out there.  I mean, the documentary film world has really blossomed, and there are a lot of
net-- there’s a huge support system.  There are magazines that list the different foundations.  There are different magazines, and there are different Web sites and, you know, the Sundance Institute.  And there’s so many different options now, I think, for funding.  It’s still difficult, but there are definitely more resources out there than I think there have ever really been for filmmaking.  But I think also aligning yourself with foundations or organizations and people who are interested in the subject matter that you’re pursuing.

Question: What information do you have to put together to get a grant?

Edet Belzburg:  For the first one that I did, I wrote a proposal.  God, I went to different organizations, and they just opened up their-- I remember I went to, for Children Underground, I went to UNICEF.  And they just opened up their filing cabinets for me, and I just sat there all day and was going through.  And so one proposal-- I wrote that proposal.  And then I raised enough money, or, a little bit of money to take a research trip.  And I think that’s the strongest.  You know, if you can raise that little bit of money to go there, even if you haven’t started filming yet, you can bring back immediate story.  So you can bring back-- you can see for yourself.  So you’re not relying on secondhand material, which is important for telling it.  But I think understanding your story and being able to communicate that to people and also to funders and to foundations is the most important.

Recorded on: 07/16/2008