Making Waves Commitment Grant

Making Waves commitment grant

The Fresh Coast Film Festival has a long tradition of recognizing and encouraging new and emerging filmmakers from the Midwest. It is in this spirit that we introduce the Making Waves commitment grant to support filmmakers and film projects from the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest region.

Projects in production or post production that align with the festival’s themes of Adventure, Conservation and Inspiration will be considered. Fresh Coast promotes and encourages diversity both behind and in front of the camera.

Application deadline has been extended to April 30, 2024.

The application period is January 1 to April 30 annually via the festival website. A committee will review applications and announce chosen projects annually during the October festival. Selected projects will receive monetary support and access to the Fresh Coast network of filmmakers for guidance and support.

Fresh Coast recognizes and supports the tradition of storytelling in the Great Lakes region. The creative spark that resides, flickering, in the heartland. We recognize the fighters, the agitators, the rebels and humorists who relentlessly pursue the craft of telling stories. We recognize the tremendous gift of these Great Lakes and the stories within them.

The Making Waves initiative is in memory of festival co-founder Aaron Peterson’s son Josiah Peterson, a kind and curious boy who left this world too early. It is our hope that selected projects reflect Josiah’s sense of adventure, wonder and fairness.

Apply now!

Grant Outline

Awards and Prizes — $10,000 awarded annually in grants of $1,000 to $5,000.

What Kind of Film — Non-fiction, documentary style; short (under 20 minutes) or feature length (over 20 minutes)

Specific Focus — Adventure, Conservation, Inspiration

Qualifying Projects — The grant is open to filmmakers living or working in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada; or a film project focusing on a subject or character in that region. The region is defined as a state or province bordering Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario or Erie. The grant review committee reserves the right to modify this definition as it sees fit.


  • Submissions: January 1-April 30
  • Notification by: July
  • Film must be in production or post-production
  • If you previously have received a Making Waves Grant please do not apply. If you have applied previously, but have not received a grant please feel free to reapply.
  • Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.
  • Film trailer or sample footage required (maximum 5 minutes). Include a link to Vimeo, YouTube, or similar where required on the application form.


By submitting a film to the Making Waves Grant you are acknowledging that this is proprietary work and not subject to copyright infringement, including music.

Your final credits reel must include the Fresh Coast Film Festival name and logo, and the Making Waves Grant logo at the proper level of support

If you receive a Making Waves Grant you agree to update the Making Waves team 3 times annually on film progress, as well as create 2 posts for social media that the Fresh Coast Film Festival and Making Waves can share.

We will assume consent to screen film at the Fresh Coast Film Festival, and any Roadshow event during the year.

Past Recipients

The Making Waves Commitment Grant
is supported by

Finn Ryan Productions


YETI Coolers