Garrett Scott Grant


Submissions for the 2016 Grant are now closed. Check back soon for information about the 2017 grant.

We are proud to celebrate 10 incredible years of the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. Watch this video highlighting the work of past recipients:


What: This grant funds first-time documentary directors for travel and accommodations to attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 7-10, 2016. For four days, grant recipients will be given access to films, master classes, and mentorship by experienced filmmakers. Recipients will also present short excerpts from their works-in-progress at the festival. TWO filmmakers will be chosen for the grant in its tenth year.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant, Full Frame will host an event in New York City on June 1, 2016. In addition to participating in the four-day festival, this year’s grant recipients will be invited to attend this New York event and present their work for a second time, with travel and accommodations provided by Full Frame.

Deadline: Applications must be RECEIVED BY Friday, February 5, 2016. Applicants will be notified by email no later than March 7.

About the Grant: Garrett Scott made a distinctive mark in documentary during his short career. Without any formal training in film, he directed Cul De Sac: A Suburban War Story, examining the case of a methamphetamine addict who stole a tank from an armory and went on a rampage through the San Diego suburbs. The film prompted Filmmaker Magazine to cite Scott as one of 2002’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Scott went on to make Occupation: Dreamland, co-directed with Ian Olds, about U.S. soldiers in Falluja, Iraq. It won prizes at Full Frame and the Independent Spirit Awards. Both films were broadcast by the Sundance Channel. In 2006, Scott died of a heart attack at age 37.

Scott’s work examined how the forces of state power and economics impact individuals. Stylistically, his films broke convention, giving audiences new perspectives on familiar milieus like suburbia or war-torn Iraq. He was a beloved member of film communities in San Francisco and New York City and several points in between.

His friends, family, and colleagues established this development grant to help other emerging filmmakers reach their potential. The grant’s selection committee looks especially for filmmakers who somehow fulfill Scott’s example by bringing a unique vision to the content and style of contemporary documentary making.

The 2015 Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant was awarded to Ted Passon for The Trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal and to Elisa Haradon and Gabriel Miller for Sweetheart Deal. Previous grant recipients include Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara (In Country), Lyric R. Cabral ((T)ERROR), Jason Osder (Let the Fire Burn), Lotfy Nathan (12 O’Clock Boys), Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu), Robin Hessman (My Perestroika), and Rebecca Richman Cohen (War Don Don), among others.

Past winners have gone on to receive significant recognition, screening their finished works at Full Frame and other prestigious festivals including Sundance, IDFA, SXSW, Berlin, and Tribeca. In addition, recipients have won numerous awards and accolades, including the 2015 Full Frame Grand Jury Award, which was presented to Cabral’s (T)ERROR, co-directed with David Felix Sutcliffe.


Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder, live in the continental United States, and be 18 or older. By “first-time filmmaker,” we mean a director who is in the early stage of his or her documentary career and has not yet received significant recognition (such as major festival or broadcast play). All applicants should anticipate finishing their first project by March 2017. You still qualify as a “first-time filmmaker” if you’ve made shorts or student projects, worked professionally as a crewmember on other people’s films, or recently completed a documentary that has not yet been released. The grant is open to students and non-students alike.

To Apply: Applications should be emailed to, with the subject line “Garrett Scott Development Grant / APPLICANT NAME(S).” Applications must be received by Friday, February 5, 2016.

Please send your application letter as a Word Document attachment. Do not send your application materials in the body of an email. The application should be no more than two pages and must include the following components:

1) Contact details: Name, Address, Phone, Email

2) Project summary: Describe the documentary you’re working on. It doesn’t matter whether the film is a short or a feature, though judging tends to favor more ambitious projects. Describe the characters, structure, visual approach, and what stage you’re at.

3) Director’s statement: Describe how you came to filmmaking and how you’ve trained as a filmmaker. It doesn’t matter whether you went to film school or are self-taught. Describe what you want audiences to take from your film.

4) Work sample: Applicants must submit a screening link of a 5- to 10-minute sample of a work-in-progress or a past work. You may send a longer work sample, but judges may only review the opening minutes. Please include the link and password, if necessary, at the end of the two-page letter.

Questions or comments? Email us at

“…the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant gave us an invaluable crash course that included conversations with veteran documentarians, sales agents, broadcasters, and distributors, while also giving us a fantastic first festival experience at one of the best documentary festivals.”
– Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worral
(filmmakers, Call Me Kuchu)