College of Arts and Sciences
Communication Department

Film Fellowship Application

  • Seattle University Film & Family Homelessness Project
    Film Fellowship Application

    This year, hundreds of thousands of American families will become homeless, including more than 1.5 million children. Living in shelters, campgrounds and cars, these families are mostly hidden from public view. Their homelessness is a reflection of broad social problems, including lack of affordable housing, extreme poverty, domestic violence and changing family demographics. Their numbers have increased significantly during the past year, with joblessness and home foreclosures on the rise. Yet, family homelessness seldom draws much media attention.

    Even less notice is taken of the good news: After years of research and program development, we are learning how to help homeless children and families. Many states and communities, particularly in Washington State, are making real progress.

    Seattle University, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has created the Film & Family Homelessness Project - to encourage more awareness around family homelessness and to foster greater public understanding of its causes and cures in Washington State with the powerful medium of film.

    Through this project, SU is establishing four fellowships for Western Washington filmmakers. Selected Film Fellows will each be responsible for producing a short film 5-10 minutes in length exploring an aspect of family homelessness. The films, shown alone or as a whole in a group setting or online, will help raise awareness and provide a powerful springboard for discussion and an inspiration to action. One such screening will be the premiere of the entire film package at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.

    Seattle University will select filmmakers from King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties for a five-month fellowship (December 2013 – April 2014). Fellows will each research, develop, and produce a short film of their own design that addresses family homelessness in our region. Films may take any form (narrative, documentary, animation, experimental) but production must be able to be completed in a short timeframe (3 filming days) with a small crew. The exception is animation projects - they will also have a short timeframe but one that differs from the others.

    Each film fellow will receive an $8,000 stipend for his/her five-month fellowship – though projects may continue past the five months with the distribution phase. In addition, Seattle University will provide all necessary crew, equipment, and post-production services to complete each film.  In return, filmmakers will be required to attend three all-day seminars to aid in the development of their films (dates TBD in December, January and March). These seminars will include access to film industry mentors and experts on family homelessness in WA state. Filmmakers must also be available late January, early February for their scheduled film shoot, February for editing their film, and able to attend the premiere screening of the package of films at SIFF. Finally, each fellow must be prepared to work with and serve as a mentor to two Seattle University students competitively chosen as their research assistants.

    Suggested Resources

    The deadline for fellowship applications is October 11, 2013. Fellowships will be awarded and applicants notified by November 22, 2013.

    Selection criteria includes:

    • Filmmakers’ track record for impactful storytelling through the short film form;
    • Creativity and originality with proposed short film idea and how to realistically execute it within outlined parameters;
    • Potential to make a positive impact on public understanding of family homelessness and strategies for ending it in Washington through proposed short film idea.


    For questions or more information, please e-mail Project Manager Lindy Boustedt at