Area Billionaire William R. Hearst III Funds Screenwriting Grant

Hey, are you a “mid-career screenwriter“? (That’s an artful term, huh?) Anyway, you simply must apply for the Hearst Screenwriting Grant, a new joint from the San Francisco Film Society and William R. Hearst III, San Francisco’s favorite billionaire.

(You’re thinking maybe you could take a stab at a remake of Citizen Kane, tell it from Charles Foster’s point of view or something. It’d be a lock, but sadly, adaptations aren’t allowed.)

WRH III as seen talking about how much he loves advertising from a few years back. Remember Revver? I don’t:


Oh, and hey, when is the Film Society ever going to get their small, historic, three-screen theatre open in the Presidio?

The moribund lobby as it looks today. Sad, in’nt?


Oh what’s that? Owners of other theaters give money to oppose the reopening of the Presidio Theatre because they don’t want the competition? Bad form, Other Theatre Owners of San Francisco. Oh well.  

Start writing!

Here are the deets:

$15,000 Grant Will Be Given to Foster a Screenwriting Career San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco Film Society announced today an exciting new partnership with William R. Hearst III that will launch the second SFFS screenwriting initiative, the newest element of the Film Society’s rapidly expanding Filmmaker Services program. The Hearst Screenwriting Grant of $15,000 will be given to a mid-career screenwriter who has been a practicing writer for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay.

The grant is open to writers residing in the United States whose project expresses both a unique personal perspective and an artistic approach to the subject. Priority will be given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have been produced as an independent film. This grant is supported by a gift from William R. Hearst III. The letter of inquiry period for the Hearst Screenwriting Grant opens July 22 and closes August 26. For more information:

The Djerassi Residency Award/San Francisco Film Society Screenwriting Fellowship, a one month residency for an emerging or established screenwriter at the Djerassi Residents Artist Program, was announced earlier this month.

Other SFFS screenwriting initiatives in the early planning stages include a screenwriters’ colony at SFFS FilmHouse, script readings with local actors and theater companies, script editing consultations and networking events to connect writers with producers. San Francisco Film Society is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to celebrating film and the moving image in all its glorious forms. SFFS year-round programs and events are concentrated in four core areas: Celebrating Internationalism, Inspiring Bay Area Youth, Showcasing Bay Area Film Culture and Exploring New Digital Media.

The Film Society shows the best of world cinema year-round on its SFFS Screen at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas; presents the longest-running film festival in the Americas, the SF International (April 22 – May 6, 2010); publishes a daily online magazine,, featuring broad-ranging news and features on Bay Area film and media; annually reaches more than 8,000 students ages 6 – 18 with its acclaimed media literacy programs; and provides crucial support to the Bay Area filmmaking community through SFFS Filmmaker Services including FilmHouse Residencies, Fiscal Sponsorship, the Herbert Family Filmmaking Grants, SFFS Film Arts Forums and professional-level filmmaker classes.

More deets after the jump.

The Hearst Screenwriting Grant was conceived to identify, nurture and support mid-career screenwriters that are writing scripts that are vibrant, intelligent, moving and innovative. For talented screenwriters with projects at an early stage such as full treatment or early screenplay draft, the grant provides $15,000 to develop their projects further.


SFFS Filmmaking Grants are open to screenwriters that satisfy the following criteria.

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicant must have been a practicing writer for at least five years and have written a minimum of one previous feature screenplay.
  • Applicant must reside in the United States.
  • Work must express both a unique personal perspective and artistic approach to the subject.
  • The application, screenplays and treatments must be written in English.
  • Scripts must be properly formatted to industry standard. Digital submissions must be in PDF format only.
  • Scripts by more than one writer are eligible but the grant will be given to the applicant only.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Filmmaker clearly articulates his or her intended goals for the Grant
  • Filmmaker demonstrates how the Grant will impact short- and long-term professional and artistic goals.
  • Priority will be given to writers who have had their previous short or feature screenplays made into an independent film.


  • Filmmaker may not be a SFFS employee or member of any SFFS board.
  • Filmmaker may not be a full-time student.
  • Project is not work for hire.
  • Only one application per project will be accepted.
  • Script must not have been optioned, purchased, in production or produced.
  • Adaptations of any work (other than your own) are not eligible.



  • LOI period opens July 22, 2009
  • LOI deadline is August 26, 2009
  • Finalists are invited to submit additional materials September 1, 2009
  • Additional materials deadline for finalists is September 18, 2009
  • Winner will be announced mid October

How to Apply

  • Go to and become a Filmmaker Pro member.
  • Submit a Letter of Inquiry on the SFFS Web site.
  • If selected as a finalist, you will be asked to submit a full application, including a 5–10 page treatment and a minimum of ten pages of a script.

Work Sample
Finalists must submit a full script other than the one they are applying for. One additional work sample such as a completed film made from a previous screenplay or writing sample will be accepted. Please note that it is likely only ten minutes of the work sample will be viewed. Work samples WILL NOT be returned

Work samples and full application must be received by 5:00 pm on, or postmarked by September 18, 2009 to:

SFFS Screenwriting Fellowship
c/o San Francisco Film Society
39 Mesa Street, Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94129

Review Panel

The Film Society will convene a panel to evaluate applications and award grants at its sole discretion.

Reporting Requirement

Grant recipients will be required to submit a progress report and a new work sample six months, from the date of the grant award.

Access online application.

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