Submission Guidelines

Blue Earth sponsors documentary projects whose goal is to educate the public about critical environmental and social issues. We are primarily interested in work that is educational and informational in nature and will consider proposals of any geographic scope involving the photographic and motion picture mediums. Our standard contract sponsors the project for two years.

Blue Earth offers fiscal accountability to the projects we accept for sponsorship. As a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status, Blue Earth is eligible to receive grants and tax-deductible contributions from private foundations, individuals, or other entities.

Along with this fiscal accountability, we also offer other services. When you join our community of visual storytellers, we offer mentorship throughout the life of your project sponsorship, publicity on our blog and newsletters, help with PR and marketing, and more depending upon individual needs.

We accept submissions for sponsorship twice each year, January 20th and July 20th. Materials must be received in our offices by the deadline. We announce recipients approximately two months later.



The next submission deadline is January 20, 2015 at midnight PST.



Submission Tips

Projects Should…

  • Meet the Blue Earth mission
  • Explain the educational component of their project
  • Show very high quality writing and production values
  • Propose an achievable project in scope, cost, and degree
  • Be innovative; not derivative of existing or past Blue Earth projects
  • Include a thorough budget that reflects the realities of life, including living and working expenses

Projects Should Not…

  • Seek funding from Blue Earth
  • Primarily be a means to acquire new photographic equipment
  • Have connections with more appropriate 501(c)3 organizations
  • Be pseudo-scientific in nature

Application Process

Only electronic applications are accepted, at the email address below. Documents should be in PDF, Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Excel format. Jpegs should be accessible for download by our office, and videos should be accessible for online viewing. Please see the FAQ for suggestions on free services for sending large image files.

Applications should include the following information. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. The narrative may be combined into one document or broken into separate documents; in either case, each section listed below must be included in your application and should be clearly labeled as such.

All documents should be named lastname_firstname_letter.pdf, lastname_firstname_resume.pdf, etc.

  • Brief letter (3 pages or less) describing the proposed project and your previous work
  • Your resume including physical address, phone number, and email. Submissions that do not include contact information will not be considered.
  • Detailed schedule
  • Proposed budget
  • A list of sources you plan to approach for funding
  • Three references with complete contact information
  • For still photography: 20 images of recent work, preferably the same work as your proposed project
    • images must be between 800 and 3,000 pixels per side
    • must be in jpeg format
    • should be named/numbered lastname_firstname_01.jpg, lastname_firstname_02.jpg,, etc.
    • must include a Description in the metadata (in IPTC, Description is stored as Caption)
    • should have your copyright attached to the file
  • For video: samples of recent work, totaling no more than 10 minutes in length, preferably the same work as your proposed project
    • samples should be at least 720p
    • should be hosted on Vimeo, YouTube, or similar service; if password protected, be sure to include credentials for multiple logins by reviewers
  • Submission fee $30 for members ($60 non-members), check or money order payable to Blue Earth. You may also pay the fee online.

Please address all submissions to contact @ blueearth.org.

For questions or general mail, please use our contact form.

Important Considerations Before Applying

Before sending in your proposal, please make sure you understand that Blue Earth 501(c)3 sponsorship is a tax status that can be used to approach U.S. companies, foundations, and private individuals for tax-deductible donations. Ordinarily, this tax status will not be useful in seeking funding from sources outside the United States.

Photographers and filmmakers are primarily responsible for developing funding requests for the project. Fiscal sponsorship does not eliminate the substantial amount of work required on your part to secure grants and donations to fund the project.

All requests for funds under the organization's name are subject to Blue Earth approval and are made on behalf of Blue Earth, which will administer the funds and, after deducting a 5% administration fee, distribute those funds to the project as it progresses. This information will be covered in detail once the project is accepted.

Accepted project photographers and filmmakers are required to sign a sponsorship contract and report to Blue Earth on a regular basis. You will be required to make your best efforts to obtain public exhibitions, screenings, and/or lectures each year of the project in order to further the Blue Earth mission of educating the public about the project.

Blue Earth seeks a diverse project portfolio and subsequently, not all worthy projects can be accepted. Blue Earth may not be able to provide an applicant feedback from the selection panel about their project proposal seeking sponsorship. The selection panel and project portfolio varies somewhat each review round and applicants are encouraged to apply when eligible. If your project falls within our mission statement, we can review your project again in a subsequent submission round.

Please contact us if you have any questions. In addition, we have prepared a short list of frequently asked questions, including topics that relate to project submissions.

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