Sarah Jacobson Film Grant

This annual film grant is intended to honor the spirit and legacy of Sarah Jacobson. Sarah, whose feature film Mary Jane’s Not A Virgin Anymore screened at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, died in 2004 after a battle with cancer. Sarah led a DIY (“Do It Yourself”) movement in the 1990s, promoting and distributing her own work with her producer-mom, Ruth Ellen Jacobson, speaking at festivals and events everywhere, and writing about film for a number of publications. A tireless, at times even shameless, promoter of her own work, Sarah was also a passionate advocate for the films of fellow filmmakers.

The Free History Project, Ruth and Lee Jacobson, and a number of Sarah’s friends and supporters contribute funds in order to give out a small annual grant to one or more self-identifying women and gender nonconforming individuals whose work embodies some of the things that Sarah stood for: a fierce DIY approach to filmmaking, a radical social critique, and a thoroughly underground sensibility. Check out below our past grantees, who were chosen by a rotating panel of judges.


We regretfully announce that the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant is going on hiatus for 2021, with our apologies to those filmmakers who have already made plans to apply this year. During last year’s turbulence, we struggled to make the grant a reality and to award our grantees in a reasonable time frame. This year our organizers need some time to reassess our process and ultimately just to recover from various personal losses/upheavals. We know that this decision affects our applicants and the upcoming projects we would love so much to support, but we hope you are encouraged by this announcement to apply elsewhere, such as to the Barbara Hammer Grant (for our US-based folks). Women Make Movies also has an extensive list of possible grants/funders here, and IDA lists documentary funds here. We hope to be back stronger than ever in 2022! With much love & solidarity, SJFG

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2020 Winners:

Masami Kawai: Zona
Rhea Storr: The Otherwhere Women

2019 Winner:

Mitch McCabe: Civil War Surveillance Poems

2018 Winner:

Madsen Minax: North By Current

2017 Winners:

Alyx Arumpac: Aswang
Ja’Tovia Gary: The Evidence of Things Not Seen

2016 Winners:

Natasha Mendonca: Mulachiparambu // Land of the Breasted Woman
Maura Jasper: Middletown Revisited: On Being Studied

2015 Winners:

Mariah Garnett: Other and Father
Caroline Key: Khôra

2014 Winners:

Anahita Ghazvinizadeh: The Baron in the Trees
Jennifer Reeder: Blood Below The Skin

2013 Winners:

Gina Kelly: Super Natura
Talena Sanders: Liahona

2012 Winners:

Mary Guzmán: Replaceable
Heather Lenz: KUSAMA: Princess of Polka Dots
Kate Marks: Miracle Maker: A Tale for Lost Causes and Desperate Cases
Akosua Adoma Owusu: Kwaku Ananse

2011 Winners:

Abby Moser: Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC
Susan Mogul: Mom’s Move
Lana Wilson: Trust Girls

2009 Winners:

Natasha Mendonca: Jan Villa
Ellen Lake: Call and Response

2007 Winners:

Jo Dery: Peeks
Marie Losier: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye

2006 Winners:

Kara Herold: Bachelorette, 34
Vanessa Renwick: Portrait #2: Trojan
Gretchen Hogue: See Photo

2004 Winner:

Veronica Majano: Remember Los Siete