Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant

We are no longer accepting submissions for the 2018 Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant.


“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)


The Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant was founded in 2007 to support singular new voices in documentary film. Its emphasis is on first-time filmmakers with unconventional training, those making formally challenging work, and those grappling with difficult subjects. Welcoming any background, training or subject, the overriding mission is to support unique filmmaking talents at this crucial moment in their careers.

The grant strives to connect new filmmakers to the larger documentary community. Grantees are invited to the annual festival as special guests, and given the opportunity to take part in one-on-one meetings, work-in-progress screenings, and a range of related activities. Working closely with Full Frame, grant committee members Ian Olds, Rachael Rakes, Thom Powers, and Esther Robinson have built an ongoing support pipeline that helps first-time filmmakers cultivate creative and professional relationships, build their understanding of the industry, and forge lasting networks of industry support as they move toward completion of their first feature film.

Garrett Scott (Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story; Occupation: Dreamland) was an incisive thinker and self-taught filmmaker with a keen ability to see how individual action was connected to larger, often unseen, historical forces. The grant seeks to honor Garrett’s memory by supporting the next generation of exceptional documentary filmmakers.


The 2017 Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant was awarded to Bing Liu for Minding the Gap and Kavita Pillay for Stalin, Lenin, and Other Tales from South India (working title). Previous grant recipients include Jonathan Olshefski (QUEST), James Demo (The Peacemaker), Lyric R. Cabral ((T)ERROR), Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara (In Country), Ben Powell (Barge), Jason Osder (Let the Fire Burn), Lotfy Nathan (12 O’Clock Boys), Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu), Johanna Hamilton (1971), Rebecca Richman Cohen (War Don Don), and Robin Hessman (My Perestroika), 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 2017 Full Frame Grand Jury Award, which was presented to Olshefski’s QUEST, and the 2015 Full Frame Grand Jury Award, which was presented to Cabral’s (T)ERROR, co-directed with David Felix Sutcliffe.




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 Garrett as one of 2002’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Garrett 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, Garrett died of a heart attack at age 37.

Garrett’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 Garrett’s example by bringing a unique vision to the content and style of contemporary documentary making.