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More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants

Mackenzie Scott

Feb 18, 2021

Though the film industry is built on storytellers, black and brown creators have a long history of being excluded and misrepresented in American film.  

At Soundstripe, we are making intentional strides to empower creators of any race, gender, age, ability, or socioeconomic status to start and keep creating. 

As part of our More Than Music community initiative, we are partnering with the Justice Film Festival to launch a collaborative grant program, Black Filmmaker Grants.

The More Than Music initiative was created to establish authentic and meaningful relationships within the creative community. And this new grant program is an extension of these efforts.

We recognized a need for more Black writers, producers, and directors at the helm of Hollywood and indie productions. 

We recognized a need for more voices like yours.

If you’re a Black filmmaker and you’re reading this, the following sections will break down what the grant program is, how you can apply, and what awards you’re eligible for. 

Soundstripe's More Than Music Grant Program

We’re excited to announce that submissions for the More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants program are being accepted until March 21 at 11:59pm CST.

Here’s what you need to know about this program:

This program is open to Black filmmakers in the USA with short films (20 minutes maximum when finished) in the development and/or pre-development stage of production. We are accepting short film pitches in two parts: 

  1. 1. The Video Pitch (up to 2-minutes in length)

We want to know about your idea for your short film and your plan for production. Share why you are passionate about this short film project — we really want to know.

  1. 2. The Written Pitch 

The written pitch can take shape as a treatment, script, mood board, logline, synopsis, or similar format. There isn’t a minimum or maximum length for the written pitch.  

For clarification, we are not looking for finished films or episodic works at this time. 

All genres are welcome, but special consideration will be given to short films centered on social justice and the experiences of marginalized populations. 

As part of your submission, you must also include links to your previous work and your bio. We are excited to get to know you, so don’t hold back!

After creating your video and written pitches, you can then submit your entry through FilmFreeway here.

(Note: it’s completely free to submit your pitch for consideration.)

What Awaits The Grant Winner & Runner Ups

Once the submission acceptance window closes on March 21, our team will review your short film pitches and name the Grand Prize Winner and Runner Ups. 

Here’s what you can stand to gain from submitting your short film pitch: 

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize, 1-year of Soundstripe Music & SFX, and two passes to The 9th Annual Justice Film Festival where their short film will be showcased. 

This annual festival event will take place at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in New York City from November 10-13, 2021. 

The Runner Ups will receive a $500 cash prize and 1-year of Soundstripe Music. Additionally, their finished short films will be showcased on Soundstripe and the Justice Film Festival’s social media platforms. 

While the program’s Runner Ups will be invited to attend the festival, expenses for travel and accommodations aren’t included as part of the awards. 

The Film Industry Needs More Creators Like You

We are very excited about this partnership with the Justice Film Festival and the opportunity to celebrate incredible Black filmmakers through this grant program.

Whether you are a budding creator or have years of experience under your belt, this program is open to you. If you have an idea and the means to turn this idea into a short film, we want to hear from you. 

To learn more about the program and submit your pitch, you can do so by clicking on the link below. 

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Official Rules & Terms

Below, you will find a detailed description of the legal rules and regulations of this program.  

We are looking for short films (20 minutes max) in development and/or pre-production by Black filmmakers in the USA. All pitches must include a video pitch of your idea (up to 2-minutes in length). In addition to your video pitch, we’ll need a written pitch in some format. This could be a treatment, script, mood board, logline and synopsis, etc. To reiterate, we are NOT looking for finished films. We welcome pitches from all filmmakers, but to be eligible for cash prizes & festival screening submitted films must meet the following criteria:

- All pitches must include a video pitch of your idea (up to 2-minutes in length)
- Must include written pitch in some format.
- One of the creative principals (writer/director/producer) must be Black (Individuals may identify as African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino or other.)
- Required length of completed film is no more than 20 minutes.
- We are not considering episodic works at this time.
- We are not providing financial assistance for festival submissions.
- We are not providing financial assistance for travel/lodging to the Justice Film Festival
- All genres are welcome but we encourage you to focus on concepts that are centered on redemptive stories of marginalized people and ecosystems bravely overcoming challenges or other topics and conversations around Social Justice
- You MUST include links to previous work - we need to have a sense of how you work.
- You must include your bio - we want to know about you!
- Submissions must be received before March 21st at 11:59pm CST

Please note, it is FREE to submit your entry via FilmFreeway.


More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants can only accept original pitches that do not infringe on the copyrights or intellectual property rights of any third parties, engage in defamation, or infringe privacy rights. Only one project may be submitted per person. All submissions must be submitted through FilmFreeway.

The selection process will be carried out at the discretion of the organizers and may not be disputed by entrants. For inquiries relating to the entry guidelines, or to request a list of winners, please contact us at ss.marketing@soundstripe.com and reference Black Filmmakers Grant.

Final deadline for submissions is March 21st at 11:59pm CST.

In addition to the above, More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants submitters must: be 18 years or older, submit their work in English, and winners of the contest must be in the United States to accept the prize. This contest is open to US residents only.



More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants, Soundstripe, Justice Film Festival, or any other partner, employee or agent associated with this contest claims no ownership nor first right of option to any original intellectual property or pitch submitted to this contest. All ownership and rights to the pitches submitted to this contest remain with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made. By entering this contest you are agreeing to joining the email lists of our partners, Soundstripe, Justice Film Festival, and Docs/ology. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration. All uses of an entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

ENTRY CONDITIONS AND RELEASE: BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE CONDITIONS. You agree to release and hold harmless More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants, Soundstripe Inc., Justice Film Festival, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, judges, Sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Contest and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the More Than Music: Black Filmmaker Grants and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize. Employees of Soundstripe Inc., Justice Film Festival, Docs/ology and their immediate families are ineligible to participate in this contest. Any such submission will be immediately disqualified.

Limitations of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for: (i) lost, late, stolen, misdirected, damaged, illegible, incomplete, garbled, or undelivered submissions; (ii) fraud, technical problems, failures, malfunctions, or for any other technical problems or malfunctions associated with any telephone lines, computer systems, servers, provider hardware/software, lost or unavailable network connections or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions or any combination thereof; (iii) any damage to any participant’s computer system/software related to or resulting from any participation or activity in connection with the contest; or (iv) any incorrect or inaccurate information provided, published, or printed or any other factor beyond the Sponsor’s control that impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Sweepstakes as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. THE RELEASED PARTIES (A) MAKE NO WARRANTY, GUARANTY, OR REPRESENTATION OF ANY KIND CONCERNING THE GRAND PRIZES (OR ANY PORTION THEREOF), AND (B) DISCLAIM ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY.

ENTRY TO THIS SKILL-BASED CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED or restricted by any Federal, State or Local law. Recipients’ eligibility will be verified before the grant is awarded and the winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility. By entering the contest, you authorize us to use any trusted third-party online and cloud-based services and databases for hosting, managing and/or transmitting your submission file(s).

All submissions must meet the Contest entry requirements described in these Official Rules. Eligible Submissions will be evaluated based on the following weighted criteria:

1. Originality (50%)
2. Creativity of presentation (50%)

On April 30, 2021, a panel of three judges selected by the Sponsor will judge eligible Submissions based on the criteria above and select the winner of the Contest (the “Winner”). The Winner will be the Submission with the highest total points. In the event of a tie, the Judges will re-judge the tied Submissions using the Criteria until such time as a winner is determined. The judges’ decision will be final and binding. The odds of winning will depend on the nature, quality and number of eligible Submissions.

The Sponsor will reasonably attempt to notify the Winner by mail, telephone or e-mail address provided in the Winner’s Submission. The Winner will have ten (10) business days to respond in order to claim the Prize (as described below). If any Winner notification is returned as undeliverable or if Winner does not respond to notification within ten (10) business days of the date of notification, the prize may be forfeited. The Winner may be required to execute any further documents that may be reasonably required by the Sponsor. In the event it is determined that a potential Winner has not complied with these Official Rules, the Sponsor is unable to contact the Winner within a reasonable time period, the Winner has failed to execute and return any required documents, or has made false statements, the Winner will be disqualified and required to promptly return to the Sponsor any portion of the Prize previously paid to the Winner. If a Winner dies, or is disqualified for any reason, at the Sponsor’s sole discretion, the Entrant with the next highest score using the above criteria may be declared the winner of the Prize.