Skip to main content

Welcome to the MacArthur Foundation 2014 Documentary Open Call.


The MacArthur Foundation funds the production of documentary films and participatory new media projects that combine exceptional storytelling with in-depth journalism. We look for projects that challenge preconceptions and examine underreported social issues. These documentaries are intended to reach a large U.S. broadcast audience and, often, a targeted audience of educators, community leaders, advocates, and policymakers. We look for projects that have the potential to spark dialogue, create understanding, and contribute to social and policy change. MacArthur-supported documentaries:

•    Address important, contemporary social issues – international and domestic – illustrating      the human impacts of public policy.
•    Follow an issue over time, providing in-depth reporting that goes beyond conventional             news coverage.
•    Utilize compelling personal stories to engage viewers and create empathy.
•    Appeal to a broad audience because they treat differing points of view with respect.
•    Are factually accurate and follow best practices in documentary ethics.
•    Are led by experienced filmmaking teams that have had past success in bringing a                 documentary project to completion and reaching broad U.S. audiences. (And are being produced by a company or organization that is incorporated in a U.S. state.)
•    Are in production or post-production phase (on a very limited basis, we may consider projects in the research & development phase)


We will begin accepting applications on April 14, 2014. You will not be able to register or begin working on the application until April 14, 2014. Please ensure that you submit all your application material before 3pm Central Time on May 1, 2014.


Step 1) Please download and carefully review the 2014 Documentary Open Call Guidelines.

Step 2) (After April 14) Make sure to click on the signup button at the top of the page.

Step 3) Once you complete the signup process, you'll get an email to confirm your registration. Make sure to check your spam box just in case! Please add us to your safe sender list so that you can continue to receive messages from us.

Step 4) Complete all application material on the site as per the instructions you'll see when you log in.

For more information, please visit the media page of our website at We regret that we are unable to answer individual questions, but invite you to look closely at our Frequently Asked Questions. 

If you have any technical questions about how to use the site, please contact and the software application providers can help address your question.

(Above images, from left, Marmato directed by Mark Grieco and I Learn America directed by Jean-Michel Dissard and Gitte Peng)