Women’s Film Preservation Fund Grant Application Guidelines


Call for submissions opened March 6th, 2023. Deadline for applications this grant round is June 15th, 2023



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Women’s Film Preservation Fund Grant Application Guidelines

The Women’s Film Preservation Fund, founded by New York Women in Film & Television, seeks proposals for the preservation or restoration of American films, from any era, in which women have held significant creative positions, including, but not limited to, writer, director, producer, editor and performer.  

Applicants are encouraged to apply early so that we can check to make sure the application is complete before the deadline.

What Kind of Preservation the WFPF funds:

Currently, the Women’s Film Preservation Fund gives grants for film-to-film preservations which result in film-based archival elements including a film negative and a print. In special cases, the WFPF may permit digital preservations without making a film negative and print, but they will be considered on a case by case basis. Deliverables must also include a digital file of the preserved film with closed captions and subtitling.

Sparked by the wealth of material shot on video by women artists during the second wave feminism movement that is in need of preservation, WFPF has embarked on limited video preservation by invitation only. Born analog video work is not accepted through this grant application process. If you have questions about analog video preservation, please contact wfpf@nywift.org. 

Criteria for grant selection includes:

  • Artistic, historic, cultural and/or educational importance of the film, especially its relation to the role of women in film history
  • Significance of the key creative women in the production
  • Evidence of the artistic and technical expertise of those planning and executing the project
  • Urgency of the need to preserve the film
  • Appropriateness of the budget for the proposed work
  • Realistic plan for making the film available to professionals, scholars, and interested audiences

Please note that preservation grants are more competitive than ever with rising costs of preservation.

Grant Amounts: Grants of up to $10,000 are awarded.

Applicants with preservation budgets higher than the grant amount, should be aware that the WFPF requires that all funding be in place within one year of the date of acceptance before any WFPF funds are released. For applicants with preservation budgets higher than the WFPF grant amount, listing any additional secured funding will strengthen the application. If the applicant has applied for funding elsewhere that is pending a decision, please provide this information. Do not include funding sources where no application has been made at the time of this application.

Use of Grant Funds: The grants may only be used for actual costs connected with the restoration and/or preservation, not for salaries or general administrative costs. Grant money is dispersed directly to approved lab and vendor conducting the preservation work as it is needed, not to the applicant

Applicant Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Individuals and not-for-profit organizations may apply.
  • Grants will be reported for tax purposes.
  • Organizations must submit evidence of tax-exempt status.

Film Requirements and Criteria:

  • “American Films” are defined as films made by American women filmmakers anywhere in the world or women filmmakers from abroad whose films were made in the United States.
  • Films must include a woman or women in significant creative positions, including, but not limited to: writer, director, producer, editor and performer.
  • Works must have been originally made on film.
  • Films must have preservation elements available.
  • Films can be from any era.
  • Films can be of any length.
  • Films can be on any subject matter.
  • Films can be of any genre, including but not limited to narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, industrial, and other types of films.
  • Films can be in any film format.
  • Applicants for films that do not have elements already archived in an established film archive are required to provide a letter from such an archive that states the archive is willing to accept both original film elements and new preservation elements and archival print after preservation. For applicants that would like assistance with this process or have questions in regard securing an archive, contact wfpf@nywift.org.

Preservations that WFPF does NOT support

  • Born digital or born analog video preservation
  • In-progress films in search of production funding. THIS IS A PRESERVATION GRANT ONLY
  • Film projects without a designated archive.

Requisites for Selected Projects: Grant awardees must agree to the following requisites:

  • Presentation of Restored Films: NYWIFT will have the right to screen the restored films and be able to use the film for publicity. The Fund will make every effort to help grant recipients present the restored films in a manner that will reach a significant number of viewers, and in a context that will increase awareness of women’s contributions to the industry.
  • Credit to NYWIFT: Films receiving a WFPF grant must carry an on-screen credit line and logo (to be supplied by WFPF) which should read as follows: “Preservation of this film was made possible by a grant from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film and Television.” Placement of the credit will depend on the size of the grant and number of other funders, but subject to WFPF approval.
  • Deliverables to WFPF/NYWIFT: Before or upon the completion of the preservation, three still images in TIFF format from the work (at least 300 DPI) as well as a Blu-Ray disc and mezzanine file (i.e ProRes442 HQ .MOV) and a reference file H.264 MP4) of the completed preservation, Paperwork: A preservation report and delivery receipt from the archive.
  • Deliverables to NYWIFT: Before or upon the completion of the preservation, three still images in TIFF format from the work (at least 300 DPI) as well as a Blu-Ray disc and uncompressed digital file of the completed preservation, a preservation report and delivery receipt from archive.
  • Deliverables to Archive: Newly created preservation elements must be shipped to a previously designated archive promptly upon completion of preservation.

Preparing to Apply

I. Locate the film’s original materials: If you’re unsure about the location of the film elements, we suggest you begin by making a list of possible locations the originals or other copies are, or might be, located.

Your list might look like this:

  • Off-site storage
  • Distribution Company that handled the film.
  • Professional archive; the film lab where the original film elements were processed, etc.
  • Library of Congress-they might have been sent material for copyright purposes.

Please note: it is optimal to work from the original negative.  However, if it no longer exists, or cannot be found, preservation work can be done using an internegative, inter-positive, print, or other elements. In that case here are resources that may help you locate other film elements:

  • If the film won an award, there may be a copy with The Academy Film Archive, the UCLA Film Archive where Sundance keeps its collection or other archives associated with awards.
  • If the film has or had distribution, sometimes the distributor will have film elements.
  • IndieCollect, a nonprofit organization, which helps independent filmmakers locate their films and archive their preservation masters. www.indiecollect.org.

II. Previously preserved: Check that the film hasn’t already been preserved through another archive or nonprofit organization that the film may have been associated with.

III. Rights Information: If you’re unsure, we suggest checking any contracts or agreements you may have on file for the film, current or previous distribution companies as well as the collaborators on the film, such as an Executive Producer, Co-Producer, or Producer. These are just some examples.

If the copyright was filed at the U.S. copyright office, you can contact the office (www.copyright.gov) to begin a search. Please keep in mind that copyrights can be transferred without filing with the copyright office so findings can be inconclusive.

IV. Estimate/Budget, Costs, and Lab Report: Each preservation is unique enough that it’s difficult to guess at or give a ballpark figure of the costs. That is why the Women’s Film Preservation Fund requires the estimate to be completed BEFORE applying for a WFPF grant.

A proper estimate from a film preservation lab must be based on a physical inspection of film materials by the preservation lab and will act as your budget. It should include the items:

  1. Identification of all existing film and sound elements
  2. Lab Inspection Report* based on the lab’s inspection the film elements which will be used.
  3. Costs could include:
  • Evaluation, preparation, and cleaning of the elements to be preserved
  • Repairs, if applicable
  • Sound work, if applicable (i.e. digital sound capture, new optical track negative, restoration work)
  • Sync picture and track
  • Color grading
  • WFPF logo credit inclusion (TIFF file logo provided by WFPF)
  • Scanning, if applicable (i.e. scan to HD, 2k, 4k, etc.)
  • New film-based negative, if applicable (new preservation master negative)
  • New film print, if applicable (except in cases where digital deliverables have been approved by the WFPF)
  • New digital primary files, if applicable (i.e. DPX files or the equivalent if and when digital-only preservation projects have been approved by WFPF)
  • Digital capture to an uncompressed digital file for designated archive and a mezzanine and access file for the filmmaker and one for the WFPF reference library. (i.e ProRes442 HQ.MOV or ProRes 4444, depending on the Archive’s preference, and an H.264 MP4) 
  • For Exhibition purposes, a ProRes4444 and/or DCP creation, if applicable (to be approved by WFPF with input from the Archive on a project-by-project basis).
  • Hard drive for DCP, if applicable.
  • Hard drive for large digital files going to designated archive. (If applicable, can include DPX and digital exhibition files. 
  • Additional Hard drives, if necessary for exhibition/screener files delivered to filmmaker and WFPF, if online delivery is not possible.
  • BluRay Disc
  • Closed captioning and subtitles (for digital files)
  • Shipping (associated with preservation award)
  • Total estimated cost
  •  If applicable, WFPF approved estimated cost for digital intermediate preservation and deliverables 

*Notes on the Lab Report: The estimate from the lab should include a report on the following:

  • The condition of the original materials that will be used
  • What type of preservation the lab and the archive recommend. 
  • If the lab writes a report separate from the estimate, you must include the report in your application.  Otherwise be sure that all of this information is included in the estimate.
  • All shipping or evaluation/inspection costs for sending the materials to the lab are at the applicant’s expense. However grant recipients can receive reimbursement from the WFPF for these expenses upon completion of the preservation. The lab will generally deduct any costs for doing an estimate/evaluation from the cost of the preservation when it is done.

Your application will be disqualified if the estimate/budget:

  • Is incomplete
  • Is not based on inspection of the film elements to be used, by the lab
  • Does not reflect realistic costs
  • Is not from an approved lab

Questions and guidance on estimates and labs are welcome, but please contact as early as possible, before the project is submitted. If you have questions, please contact wfpf@nywift.org with the subject line “WFPF Application question.”

Preservation Labs: A short list for reference.

*Please note: Some of the labs listed below do only digital preservation and do not generate a new film negative and film print, but work with labs that can.  If you work with such a lab, you will also need an estimate from the lab that can create a film negative and film print from the digital preservation to meet the WFPF grant budget requirements.

BB Optics, New York, NY – bboptics.com

Cineric. New York, NY – cineric.com 

ColorLab, Rockville, MD – http://colorlab.com

FotoKem, Burbank, CA – https://fotokem.com/#1

IndieCollect, New York, NY  – indiecollect.org

The MediaPreserve, Cranberry Township, PA – https: ptip.com/en/mediapreserve/overview/about-us

Metropolis Post, New York, NY – metpostny.com

Roundabout, Burbank, CA – https://www.roundabout.com

Other labs:
If you want to work with another lab but are unsure whether their work meets preservation standards, please contact wfpf@nywift.org with the subject line “WFPF Application question”, and we will help you assess the lab, or provide additional lab suggestions.

V. Storing preserved works: WFPF preservations are required to be stored in a professional archive, which makes their titles publicly accessible. It is the grantee’s responsibility to find and secure an archive.  However, the WFPF will be glad to recommend archives if you need suggestions before you complete the application form. An archive must keep films on premises under optimum climactic conditions and permit access to scholars and researchers. An archive that simply stores the film in an archival storage facility off-site, does not meet our criteria. If you have any questions about an archive you are considering, please contact us before you submit the application at wfpf@nywift.org.

A letter of acceptance from the archive will be required as part of the application. Please contact the WFPF if you have any difficulties or questions about this at wfpf@nywift.org with the subject “WFPF Application question.”

Any further questions, please contact  wfpf@nywift.org with the subject line “WFPF Application question”.

Instructions for Completing the Application

All applications must be submitted online.

PLEASE NOTE: Separate Applications with separate budgets must be submitted for each individual Film.

Please answer all of the questions in the application. You will not be able to submit the application, if any cells in the form are left blank. The following are a few items to note.


Cover Page and Section I. The Preservation Fund requests that awardees appoint a Project Manager to oversee the preservation and restoration work on the picture through to completion. The Project Manager will serve as a contact person with the committee and the preservation lab from the time the grant is awarded through its completion, delivery of all elements and confirmed receipt by the designated archive.


K. Reviews and critiques of the film, if available: Please submit no more than 5 pages of supporting materials per film.

L. Budget: Please refer to above Preparing to Apply, IV. Budget & Costs.

M. Reviews and critiques of the film, if available: Please submit no more than 5 pages of supporting materials per film.

Application FAQ’s

Why does the WFPF fund only preservations that create new film-based archival elements instead of just digital elements?

WFPF believes that film is still the most stable form of audiovisual preservation, therefore it supports the preservation of film-based motion pictures that include the creation of new film-based archival elements for long-term safeguard. Exceptions to this rule are occasionally made, but applicant should contact wfpf@nywift.org to find out if they might qualify for an exemption.

Why does the WFPF require archiving of the film elements both existing and that result from the preservation?

Archiving insures the longevity of the films elements both old and new by storing them under optimal climactic conditions.  An archival print, one that is used only for reference, not subjected to the wear and tear of screening. In the future, when new prints are made or preservations are made utilizing new technology, this pristine print serves as an accurate representation and guide of the color and exposure of the original film. 

Archiving (as opposed to storage) allows for access by scholars and preservationists for study and research of the films.  

When are grantees notified they’ve been awarded a WFPF grant?

All applicants are notified as soon as award decisions have been made. Grantees receive an email notice, followed by a Grantee Agreement to sign and return to WFPF at the NYWIFT office.Please note that it is not unusual for grant decisions to take up to 6 months for award notification.

Who makes the decision on WFPF grant awards?

The decision is based on careful review and recommendation by the WFPF Steering Committee to the Fund’s Selection Committee. The Steering Committee is comprised of NYWIFT members from many disciplines of film, television and media. The Selection Committee is specifically made up of professional archivists and film historians. The final decision on grant awards is made by the Steering Committee following Selection Committee feedback.

Will I be notified if I did not receive a WFPF grant?

Yes, all applicants will be notified whether they are receiving a preservation award or not. Notification is given by email.

If I’ve previously applied for grant, may I apply again?

Yes you can, but make sure your lab inspection and estimates are up-to-date.

How long should I expect the preservation process to take?

The preservation process varies widely and depends on the condition and circumstances of each film. It can take anywhere from a few months to a year, or sometimes several years.

Does the preservation grant include guidance through the preservation process?

Yes. Each grantee is shepherded through the process by a member of the WFPF committee.

Do grantees work directly with the labs doing their preservation work?

Yes, grantees or a project manager assigned by the grantees, are expected to work directly with the lab. If they need additional guidance, their grant shepherd can be of support and assistance

Do grantees receive the grant moneys directly?

No. Grant funds go directly to labs when WFPF is invoiced.

What will the confirmed archive receive once the preservation is complete?

The archive will receive:

  • The original film elements used to create the preservation master
  • A preservation master (film negative)
  • A film print

Submission Deadline

The next application deadline is June 15th, 2023.

Please contact wfpf@nywift.org with any application submission questions as early as possible, before the application is submitted.

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