Women’s Film Preservation Fund Grant Application Guidelines

*The Women’s Film Preservation Fund will be postponing the opening of submissions for its 2020 Film Preservation Grants because of the COVID-19 pandemic. WFPF will make further announcements when we know more about the developing situation. The 2020 grant submission opening will be delayed until our organization is able to give applicants the attention they need and to know that they are safely able to access their film elements when working with the archives and labs as is necessary to complete their applications properly. 

The most recent WFPF grant cycle closed June 30th, 2018. Check back for further updates.


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.

What Kind of Preservation the WFPF funds:

Currently, the Women’s Film Preservation Fund gives grants for film preservation which result in film-based archival elements including a negative and a print. Deliverables also should include transfer to a digital medium.

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.

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 two years 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.

Preservations that WFPF does NOT support

  • Film-to-digital preservations without the creation of new film-based archival elements
  • Video preservation
  • In-progress films in search of production funding. THIS IS A PRESERVATION GRANT ONLY

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.
  • 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 shipped to archive

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 the film was distributed through
  • Professional archive; the film lab where the A&B rolls or Kinescope was processed, etc
  • Library of Congress

Please note: it is preferable to work from the original negative, however, if it no longer exists, or cannot be found, preservation can be considered using an internegative, interpositive, print, or other elements. In that case here are other resources:

  • 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. Budget, Costs, and Lab Report: Each preservation is unique enough that it’s difficult to guess, or give a ballpark figure. This is why an essential part of the process is to get an estimate from reputable lab that specifically does preservation work. There is sometimes a nominal charge for this because a proper estimate involves sending your materials to the film lab so they can inspect all the elements and determine what is the best preservation process based on the materials you provide and their condition.

Please note: The Women’s Film Preservation Fund requires the estimate be completed BEFORE applying for a WFPF grant and all shipping or evaluation/inspection costs are at the applicant’s expense. An incomplete budget or one that does not reflect realistic costs, or use of an appropriate lab will disqualify the application. Questions and request for guidance are welcome, but we encourage contact as early as possible, and before the project is submitted. If you have questions, please contact wfpf@nywift.org with the subject line “WFPF Application question.”

If you obtain a proper estimate from a film preservation lab based on a physical inspection of film materials, this usually acts as your budget, as long as it includes the items below.

  • Identify all existing film and sound elements
  • Evaluation, cleaning and preparation
  • Repairs if applicable
  • Sound work, if applicable (i.e. digital sound transfer, new optical track negative)
  • WFPF logo credit inclusion (TIFF file logo provided by NYWIFT)
  • Scanning format, if applicable
  • Film out, if applicable
  • Unsupervised video transfer to uncompressed digital file and Blu-Ray disc (for WFPF library)
  • Shipping (associated with preservation award is granted)
  • Total estimated cost

Lab Report: The estimate from the lab should include a report on 1) the condition of the original materials and 2) what type of preservation the lab recommends. You will need to include this information as part of the application.

Estimates that are not based on a physical inspection of the film elements by a qualified lab will be considered incomplete and the application will be disqualified.

Preservation Labs: A short list for reference.

Cineric (WFPF sponsor)
New York, New York

BB Optics
New York, New York

Colorlab/Film & Video Solutions
North Bethesda, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Cinema Arts
Newfoundland, PA

MPS Labo
Burbank, CA

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 publically accessible. It is the grantee’s responsibility to find and secure an archive. 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. WFPF will provide archive suggestions upon request. please contact  wfpf@nywift.org with the subject line “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. The following are a few items to note.


A. 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.


I. Credit List: Please include a full credit list, including both women and men.

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

K. 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.”

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.

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 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 (negative)
  • A Print

Submission Deadline

The next application deadline is June 30th, 2018.

Funded, in part, by


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