Greenlight Grants encourage entrepreneurship in Iowa by enhancing the professional capacity of Iowa’s media industry. Funding supports home-grown Iowa film and digital media productions that benefit Iowans and small businesses in the state. Eligible projects must be ready for production and demonstrate public value.
Funding for the Greenlight Grant program is made possible by an annual appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, on behalf of Produce Iowa. Applicants must adhere to the funding policies of the Iowa Arts Council.
Fiscal Year 2021 Application Deadline
Extended from May 1, 2020 to June 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM for the funding period of July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021.
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions within 8 weeks of the application deadline.
Final Report Deadline
Grant recipients are required to complete a final report by August 1, 2021.
Use of Funds
Grant funding may be used only for goods and services acquired through vendors located in Iowa. Funding must be used for direct expenses related to the production and post-production of a film or digital media project. Project activities may occur before or after the funding period; however, the grant funds can support expenses and activities that occur only within the funding period. Funded projects must place the Produce Iowa and Iowa Arts Council logos in credits on screen.
Applicants may request funding for eligible one-time project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. The department reserves the right to adjust funding levels based on the quality of submitted applications.
- Minimum Request $10,000
- Maximum Request $50,000
Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing matching funds for eligible one-time project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period in an amount that is one half the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Arts Council. Required matching funds may be spent on goods and services acquired through vendors located in or outside of Iowa. Update for fiscal year 2021: The required 50% match may be either in-kind or cash match. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $5,000 in cash or in-kind match for a minimum total project budget of $15,000.
The 50% match requirement means that the minimum eligible project budget is $15,000 for a $10,000 grant request and the minimum eligible project budget is $75,000 for a $50,000 grant request.
Grant recipients will receive one half of the grant award at the start of the funding period. The remaining one half of the award will be disbursed on a reimbursement basis after the grant recipient demonstrates the grant funds and required matching funds have been spent by providing documentation of expenditures and proof of purchase from Iowa vendors on forms provided by the department. Failure to demonstrate that the grant recipient has completed the project to the satisfaction of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will result in the requirement to repay the grant funds to the State of Iowa within 30 days of the end of the funding period.
Eligible applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Individuals who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to apply.
- Individual filmmaker
- Individual filmmakers are encouraged to register on the Iowa Targeted Small Business website; however, grant funds will be administered directly to an individual and not to a for-profit entity
- If awarded funding, the individual filmmaker will be legally and financially responsible for the grant award and meeting contract requirement.
- Current, legal Iowa resident artist who is 18 years of age or older and physically located in Iowa
- Maintain current registration in the Produce Iowa Media Production Directory
The following types of entities are not eligible to apply:
- For-profit corporation or business
- Individual filmmakers are encouraged to register on the Iowa Targeted Small Business website; however, grant funds will be administered directly to an individual and not to a for profit entity
- Federally tax exempt nonprofit organization
- Public and private school that serves grades pre-K through 12
- Nonprofit institution of higher education
- Unit of local, county or federally-recognized tribal government
- Artist groups, collaboratives and collectives
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs employees and their immediate family members
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs applicants who have already submitted two unfunded applications for the same project
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees who have already received a grant from the department for the current application funding period.
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantee who has already received a grant from the department for any phase of the project
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantee with an outstanding final report or placement on a department funding moratorium
Iowa Arts Council Administered Grant Program Eligibility
- Applicants may not submit more than one application during a single grant deadline or cycle regardless of grant program
- Eligible artists may only receive one Art Project Grant or one Artist Fellowship in a single fiscal year
- Applicants may not submit more than two applications for the same project regardless of fiscal year if both applications are unfunded
- Projects may not receive more than one Iowa Arts Council administered grant regardless of applicant, phase of project or fiscal year
Eligible Genres of Projects
The following genres of film or digital media productions are eligible:
Eligible Types of Projects
The following types of film or digital media productions are eligible:
- Feature including sequels
- Web Series
- Episodic including pilot episodes or new seasons
- Sizzle Reel
Eligible projects include the production and post-production of an original film or digital media project within the state of Iowa. Funds must be used for one-time production expenses for goods and services provided by businesses located in Iowa. Examples of eligible project activities include:
- Set Construction
- Location Scouting
- Picture Editing
- Sound Engineering
- Musical Scoring
- Sound/Visual Effects
The following types of activities and projects are not eligible for the grant program:
- Award Shows
- Productions with news, talk shows, religious, political, instructional, corporate or obscene content
- Projects that result in an applicant’s course credit, degree or certification
- Projects that have already received a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
- Separate phases of a project that has already received a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
- Sequels or new seasons of episodic productions are considered eligible, distinct projects
- Project activities may occur before or after the funding period; however, the grant funds and required match can support expenses and activities that occur only within the funding period.
Greenlight Grants support one-time, direct project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed project. Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing matching funds in an amount that is one half the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Arts Council. Update for fiscal year 2021: The required 50% match may be either in-kind or cash match. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $5,000 in cash or in-kind match for a minimum total project budget of $15,000.
The grant request, cash and in-kind match expenses must be dedicated to eligible one-time project expenses, legitimate parts of the proposed project; and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request and required match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Applicants may identify supplemental project expenses that occur before or after the eligible funding period, or that are otherwise not eligible to be part of the grant request or cash match in the application; however, supplemental expenses may not be included in the grant request or required 50% match. Applicants who include ineligible or inflated expenses in the grant request or required match will be considered ineligible.
- Cash match is actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources
- In-kind match is donated goods or services contributed to the project by the applicant or other sources
- Funding from the state government cannot be used to meet the match requirement
- Funding from the federal government cannot be used to meet the match requirement
Eligible Grant Request & Match Expenses
The grant request and cash match expenses must be legitimate parts of the proposed project and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request and required match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. All grant request expenses must be acquired through Iowa vendors. Cash match expenses may be acquired through vendors in or outside of Iowa. Eligible grant request and match expenses include direct project costs for goods and services such as:
- Crew/Labor (e.g. director, cinematographer, grip, talent, production assistant)*
- In-State Travel (e.g. mileage, accommodation, per diem, rental vehicles, gas)
- Marketing (e.g. graphic design, ad buys, web design)
- Production Rentals (e.g. camera, lighting, sound, props, tents, scissor lift, trucks, portable restrooms, generators)
- Support Services (e.g. sanitation, construction, security, dry cleaning, florist, craft services)
*Applicant must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project. Personnel benefits are not eligible.
Ineligible Grant Request & Match Expenses
Expenses that fall outside of the identified eligible expenses for the project may not be included as part of the grant request or the required cash match. Applicants that include ineligible or inflated expenses in the grant request or cash match will be considered ineligible. Ineligible grant request and match expenses include:
- Budget shortfalls
- Capital expenditures
- Deficit or debt reduction
- Equipment purchases
- Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
- Fundraising or benefit activities
- Goods or services acquired through vendors located outside of Iowa
- Inflated, noncompetitive pricing of goods or services
- Lobbying activity
- Ongoing or operating expenses including utilities, rent/lease, office supplies, personnel benefits
- Out-of-state travel
- Personnel benefits
- Pre-production activities
- Prizes and awards
- Property maintenance, restoration or renovation
- Salary or fee of applicant’s immediate family member
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via the Iowa Arts Council’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants can access the current online application requirements at iowaartscouncil.slideroom.com. Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit help.liaisonedu.com assistance related to the online submission.
Department Eligibility Review
Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published funding priorities and guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered. Staff will also review an applicant’s record of compliance and good standing with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, state and federal government. Applications or applicants determined by staff to be ineligible or incomplete will not move forward to panel review and are specifically denied any appeals process.
Competitive Panel Review
Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a volunteer citizen panel of Iowa arts and culture professionals with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Applications will be scored and ranked based on the published scoring rubric. Panel ranking and recommendations are submitted to the director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for consideration and funding approval.
Department Funding Decisions
The department reserves the right to adjust funding levels to accommodate the quality of submitted applications against the total funds available. All funding decisions are final and may not be appealed due to an applicant’s dissatisfaction. Applicants may review the department appeals policy for information on grounds for appeal and the appeal process.