Due to the impact of COVID-19 the 2020 Princess Grace Awards program has been suspended for this year. We look forward to resuming our Awards program and celebrating excellence in emerging artists in theater, dance, and film in 2021. Should you have questions please contact Program Director, Diana Kemppainen.



The Princess Grace Awards seek to discover emerging filmmakers and nurture their artistic pursuits throughout their careers. Princess Grace Film Awards are available to emerging filmmakers; filmmakers at the outset of their careers or early stages of professional development. Funding provides project specific support and filmmakers must be nominated by a non-profit school or media arts center.


The category of Film is comprised of (but not limited to) narrative/documentary/experimental/animation/hybrid work, as well as new work including media installations, transmedia, episodic and interactive web work and other projects where the moving image is the primary component.

SCHOLARSHIPS are awarded to help support students’ thesis film projects at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students must be enrolled at the nominating school and have not yet completed their thesis film. Schools/universities may only nominate 1 student per category (i.e., 1 undergraduate scholarship nomination, 1 graduate scholarship nomination).

    • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have obtained permanent residency status, i.e., Greencard.
    • Applicants must have completed at least one film as a director.
    • Applicants must be the director of the proposed thesis film
    • Applicants must be nominated by the school/university and the nomination should be by the dean/department chair of the film program.
    • Nominating schools/universities must meet the following criteria:
      • Schools must be 501(c)(3) non-profit schools/universities.
      • Film programs should have a robust production component with the focus of class requirements on film production vs. film theory.


PGF-USA also offers the Stephen Hillenburg Animation Scholarship, created specifically to fund an animation artist. Read more

FELLOWSHIPS are awarded to help support filmmakers’ current film projects. Filmmakers must have taken part or currently be involved in a residency or fellowship program offered by the nominating organization. Media arts centers may only nominate 1 Fellowship per year.

    • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have obtained permanent residency status, i.e., Greencard.
    • Applicants must have completed at least one film as a director.
    • Applicants must be the director of the proposed film.
    • Applicants must be nominated by the media arts center and the nomination should be by the executive director of the media arts center.
    • Nominating media arts centers must meet the following criteria:
      • Media arts centers must be 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.
      • Nominating media arts centers should offer residency or fellowship programs and nominated applicants should have taken part or currently be involved in one of those programs offered by your organization. Within the grant period the applicant should either be participating in one of the programs offered or have ongoing mentorship/support that will allow the filmmaker to achieve their artistic goals. Details of this support should be clearly outlined in the letter of recommendation and program offering components of the application.
      • PGF-USA does not accept nominations from fiscal sponsors where the only relationship of the organization to the filmmaker is that of a fiscal sponsor. PGF-USA funds may not be applied toward fees for administering the PGF-USA grant should funding be awarded.


Princess Grace Award Film grants average between $15,000-$30,000.

Should funding be awarded, acknowledgement of winning a Princess Grace Award, including the Princess Grace Awards logo, must appear in film credits/any related materials, and a copy of the completed film must be sent to the PGF-USA.


The Princess Grace Awards is interested in identifying and nurturing emerging filmmakers. In its evaluation of emerging, the Film Panel considers the aggregate of the filmmaker’s career and is looking to identify artists at the outset of their careers rather than mid-career filmmakers. Primary consideration is given to artistic excellence and evaluation of the filmmaker’s potential. The panel also considers the quality and originality of the approach, point of view, and artistic strategies the filmmaker will bring to the proposed project as demonstrated by work samples and written materials.

For Fellowships:  the Film Panel also considers the support the media arts center will provide to the proposed Fellow during the grant period to help them achieve their artistic goals and successfully complete their project.


Required from Nominee:

    • Complete online application
    • Resume, including filmography. Please submit a standard resume. Not to exceed two pages; minimum font: 12pt; 1” margins.
    • Project description: Please provide a short synopsis/brief description of your proposed film. The statement should include the format and duration (Running Time) of the film as well as the style or treatment in visual terms. Be sure to include a timeline for the project, including expected date of completion and what stage in the timeline the project currently stands. Not to exceed one page; minimum font: 12pt; 1” margins.
    • Brief artist statement: Please describe how this project fits into your short and long term artistic and career goals. Describe the individual approach that you bring to your films. Not to exceed one page; minimum font: 12pt; 1” margins.
    • Script or story summary of the proposed project. Be as specific as possible about the narrative, structure and visual treatment you are planning. Not to exceed one page; minimum font: 12pt; 1” margins. You have the option to also provide a scene by scene description and/or storyboard in your supplemental materials.
    • Budget of proposed project: All nominees must complete the online budget worksheet provided within the application. The budget is a key component of your application, and represents your project in quantitative terms. It is important to the panel’s understanding of your project and you are best served by presenting a realistic and accurate budget. Incomplete or inaccurate budgets will be deemed ineligible.
      • PGF-USA funding may not be applied to expenses incurred prior to September 1, 2020 which is the start of the grant period.
      • Your budget may include an artist stipend for yourself as the primary artist. PGF-USA allows up to 15% of your budget with a maximum of $3,000 for your artist fee. Should you have multiple roles on your project (editor, animator, etc) you can request more than $3,000 and you should provide a brief explanation.
      • PGF-USA may, at its discretion, choose not to fund any specific line item(s) in the budget.
    • Work samples: Submit 2-3 samples of your work. Submitted materials become the property of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA.

Required from Nominator:

    • Nominator’s letter of recommendation : Please tell us why you consider this candidate to be outstanding in their field and deserving of a Princess Grace Award, and how they have demonstrated their excellence and future potential as an outstanding artist. At the top of the letter, please include a brief description of the nomination process and a list of the participants in that process. Not to exceed two pages; minimum font 12pt; 1″ margins.
      • Media Arts Centers should also include a description of how the applicant will be mentored/supported during the grant period and provide a few specific outcomes expected from those proposed activities.
    • Biography of nominator. Not to exceed one page, minimum font: 12pt, 1” margins.
    • Scholarships Only: Schools should submit the following documents:
      • Description of program offerings and course requirements
      • List of nominating department faculty
      • Copy of IRS determination letter certifying 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status
    • Fellowships Only: Non-Profit Media Arts Centers should submit the following documents:
      • Description of residency/fellowship/program the nominated filmmaker has/will be participating in
      • List of artistic and administrative staff, and board of directors/trustees
      • Organization description/mission statement
      • Most recent financial and/or annual report
      • Copy of IRS determination letter certifying 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status


    • Submit 2-3 film excerpts. The total duration of all work samples may not exceed 10 minutes. The panel will not view more than 10 minutes of required work samples and it is up to the applicant to edit their samples to fit within the 10 minute timeframe.
    • In addition to the required work samples, nominees are also encouraged to submit a complete short film as supplemental viewing material. Supplemental material can be a complete version of or a different film than your excerpted samples. Supplemental material does not count toward your 10 minute sample limit.
    • Submit only samples of work directed/created by the nominated filmmaker.
    • Panel will not view promotional videos, trailers, commercials or PSA’s. The panel also will not view conceptual videos wherein applicants explain via film their concept for the proposed project.
    • Please make sure the link submitted is live and accessible June 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020 to give the panel ample time to view the sample. We strongly recommended that live streaming links be secure and you must provide the Princess Grace Foundation-USA with passwords that are good through July 31, 2020. 


Work samples are a significant component of your application and we urge you to use care in selecting the samples you submit.

    • Competitive applicants, in general, submit at least one continuous scene from their film(s).
    • Applicants should submit work samples that best represent their artistic/directorial style. If possible, applicants may consider submitting works which are stylistically relevant to the proposed project.
    • If there are rough scenes of the proposed project available, include these clips in the application. Only include this material if the scenes are far enough along to accurately represent the project. Concisely and carefully describe their relevance.
    • The panel has limited time in which to view your work samples, and may not be able to view the work in its entirety. It is helpful to keep that in mind when selecting work samples, and you may provide specific cue points in your description for the panel to use as viewing reference.
    • The panel views all work samples on a single channel screen with 16:9 aspect ratio. If your sample work was originally created to be viewed in a different format (i.e., multi-channel installation, etc.) please use the field below to describe how the work was originally viewed and is intended to be shown. This will allow the panel to envision the work as it is intended to be seen.
      • Note for VR applicants: we use VR Box as our playing device. We accept MP4, MKV or other commonly compatible container formats. You can include a short paragraph of specific technology you used (such as sound etc.) if applied.

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Photo: 2019 Film Honoraria Melanie Rosete
Photo credit: Thomas Karas

Nominating organizations may nominate one undergraduate and one graduate student for a Stephen Hillenburg Animation Scholarship separately from (and in addition to) the Princess Grace Film Scholarship. Please note animators can only submit 1 Princess Grace Award application in either category, however animators can be nominated in either category and do not need to only apply in the Stephen Hillenburg Animation Scholarship category. One Stephen Hillenburg Animation Scholarship is awarded each year.

The nomination should be on behalf of the Film School's Dean/Dept. Chair or Media Art Center's Executive Director. However if there is someone on faculty or staff that can better speak to the filmmaker's work and artistic excellence, they may write the letter of recommendation.