Our Fiscally Sponsored Projects

Receiving funding is one of the most challenging parts of independent filmmaking. Many foundations, corporations and governmental grant making organizations restrict funding of independent projects to tax-exempt organizations (aka not-for-profits or 501(c)(3) organizations). IFP Chicago’s Fiscal Sponsorship program was created to assist members applying for these funding opportunities. Additionally, this arrangement enables individuals to take contributions to sponsored projects as charitable contribution deductions on Federal tax returns. Learn more about, follow and donate to all our Fiscally Sponsored Projects here.

Are you a filmmaker seeking fiscal sponsorship? Apply here.


Cool: On Gwendolyn Brooks

Cool: On Gwendolyn Brooks expands Moore's short documentary, Brooks People to both broaden and deepen the exploration of the impact of Gwendolyn Brooks. As the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen in 1950, her work spans the 20th and 21st Century.

Project type: Documentary Feature

Director: Shahari Moore

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Head to Head

Every day, the women in this documentary come face-to-face with their biggest secret and must
choose whether to go to great lengths to hide the elephant in the room or put it out into the world for all to see. Told through the lens of a director who is struggling with the idea of uncovering her own secret.

Project type: Documentary Feature

Director: Andrea Alberti


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I Can Only be Mary Lane

Mary Lane is a frequent performer in Chicago’s aging Blues haunts. At 82, she is one
of the last legendary Blues musicians that made the Great Migration from America’s
south. Although Mary is in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, she has never gotten the
wider recognition she deserves. I Can Only Be Mary Lane follows Mary as she records
just her second studio album and first in over 20 years. Her producer thinks it could
potentially win her a Grammy, if only they can get it done.

Project Type: Documentary Feature

Director: Jesseca Ynez Simmons



A Machine to Live In

A Machine To Live In is a film about the imaginative and material process of building one’s own utopian city. The film hovers around the city of Brasiília, one of the most well-known models for the sci-fi-like vision of a modernist megacity. Forecast by an ancient prophet, Brasília was built in a rush to the bright future of Brazil in the sixties. Machine is a document of the lives of designers and visionaries, occult politicians, transcendental youth, and the architects of mystical cults who live in and around Brasília.

Project Type: Documentary Feature

Directors: Yoni Goldstein, Meredith Zielke

Executive Producer & Director of Photography: Andrew Benz

Field & Creative Producer: Sebastian Alvarez 



Moving Parts

MOVING PARTS is a narrative feature film in post production, crafted by a female writer director, produced primarily by Caribbean women and told from the perspective of a female protagonist. Shot on location in Trinidad and Tobago, the Southern-most islands of the Caribbean chain, which is one of the most industrialized countries in the Caribbean with an ethnically diverse population of 1.3 million people made up Amerindian, European, Mediterranean, African, East Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern descent.

MOVING PARTS is the story of Zhenzhen, a young Chinese woman who is smuggled into the island of Trinidad to reunite with her brother Wei, who works construction there. Wei finds Zhenzhen work at a Chinese restaurant which she discovers serves more than just food.

Project type: Narrative Feature

Director: Emilie Upczak

Producer: John Otterbacher


Real Prayers Are Said in German

In the fall of 2015 when all Chicago Cubs’ fans hoped “this would be the year”, Creator and Producer Ann Hagemann wrote a Facebook post about her father and how his love of baseball, the Chicago Cubs, music, and his strong German roots got him and his sisters through some very though times during WWII after his father took ill and was sent to a sanitarium... After receiving a multitude of posts and messages from all over the world wanting to know more of the story, Ann wrote a series of short stories that depict the events in her family from 1943 - 45.

Project type: Narrative Feature

Producer/Writer: Ann Hagemann


Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago

Barry Gifford is one of America’s greatest storytellers. His work includes the novel Wild at Heart, which was adapted by David Lynch into a Palme d’Or-winning film, and dozens of other screenplays, novels and books of poetry and essays. In a series of autobiographical stories spanning more than forty years he has chronicled the adventures of Roy, a boy coming of age largely on the gritty streets of 1950s Chicago.

Project Type: Documentary Feature

Director: Rob Christopher

Co-Producer: Michael Glover Smith


The Girl Who Wore Freedom

This is not your conventional love story, but a love story nonetheless, one that has lasted for over 70 years between a city that had lived under oppressive occupation and a nation that came to rescue them.

In the first chapter of this documentary series, we follow the German occupation of Normandy and the liberation of the French people, told through stories of the French who lived through this turbulent time and still speak of a love affair that bonds generations of Free French to their American liberators to this day.

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The Water Is My Sky

Every year, thousands of elite competitive swimmers isolate themselves from the outside world beneath the surface of cold, blue water, training for hours on end preparing for a single race whose outcome can singlehandedly label their entire season a success or failure. Yet long after their days of competition are complete, all that remains is an unbreakable bond to the water, which over time becomes a second home to them. The Water Is My Sky is a feature length documentary that shares the experiences of elite competitive swimmers through the stories of three individuals from three different generations chasing their dream of becoming the best swimmer in the world.

Project type: Documentary Feature

Directors: Brian Tremml, Kiel Nowakowski

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When a total solar eclipse passes overhead "Little Egypt", the celestial phenomenon spurs a collaboration between residents of Cairo, IL, and filmmakers to craft a collage of vignettes that defy the misperception of Cairo as a "dying community" eclipsed by post-industrialism. Despite economic hardship and a deep-seeded history of racial injustice, this film celebrates a vibrant community and its path towards resurgence. 

Project Type: Feature Documentary

Directors: JP Sniadecki, Lisa Marie

Producer: Edward Wong