deadCENTER Film Festival, Inc.


For Full Length (i.e., 60-minute or longer) Films

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Fiscal Sponsorship is a process by which your non-commercial project may become eligible for funding from individuals and organizations that require tax-exempt status for their contributions and consequently are unable to contribute funds directly to projects controlled by individuals, partnerships or “for profit” concerns.  By “non-commercial”, we mean that you and other individual participants providing rights or services in your project may be entitled to budgeted or deferred fees for your involvement, but no one can receive a “profit” participation from the project’s exploitation – i.e., if a profit (as the term is normally understood) is generated it must consequently be devoted to other non-profit purposes.

Many foundations, corporations and government agencies may, however, fund such projects through intermediary non-profit, 501(c)(3) qualified organizations who are permitted to act as intermediaries (i.e., “Fiscal Sponsors”) for your project funding.  Additionally, working with a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status allows you to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions from individuals — which may be a major incentive for individuals considering making a donation to your project.

As your fiscal sponsor, deadCENTER Film Festival, Inc. (“deadCENTER”) acts as an umbrella organization for your project and accepts and administers grants and donated funds on your behalf.  deadCENTER is legally responsible for the funds received on behalf of fiscally sponsored projects and must insure (i) that the funds are used for charitable activities, as agreed upon between the donor and recipient, and (ii) that the donor reporting requirements are met in a timely fashion.

Fiscal sponsorship broadens the available avenues you can use to pursue funding for your project.  It does not mean that we are your producers or fundraisers, or are in any way responsible for the content or actual production of your project.  Fiscal sponsorship does not mean that “we” provide grants or assist with research for individual project funding.  Moreover, as between you and deadCENTER acting as a fiscal sponsor, all artistic and proprietary rights, title, interest (including the copyright) in and to the completed project will belong to you (or your company).

How does Fiscal Sponsorship work?

Once your project is awarded a grant or receives a contribution which is conditioned on the fiscal sponsorship of deadCENTER, the funds are made payable to deadCENTER Film Festival, Inc. for deposit in an interest-bearing bank escrow account (not our general account), for your benefit. deadCENTER’s administrative fees are deducted at the time of contribution, and interest earned will be retained by deadCENTER and used toward the further development and promotion of deadCENTER’s tax-exempt purposes (i.e., promoting film-making and film appreciation in Oklahoma).  Any other direct expenses incurred by deadCENTER on behalf of the Project (e.g., bank charges) will be billed against the account.

Once funds have cleared, deposited funds will be disbursed to you or to your production company, as specified in our sponsor agreement with you.  You are responsible for paying your own expenses relating to your project, and you must maintain your own bookkeeping records and report to deadCENTER how the funds were spent by submitting copies of receipts, invoices, cancelled checks or similar documentation to deadCENTER.

Keep in mind that you cannot utilize deadCENTER’s fiscal sponsorship program AND have investors. According to the IRS, once you have profit-seeking investors supporting your project, you may no longer be considered a non-profit entity. Should you be sponsored by deadCENTER and then get an investor on board, you will need to close your account with deadCENTER, and address your change of status directly with your prior donors.

For its fiscal sponsor services, deadCENTER charges a standard 7.5% administrative fee on all contributions it receives and processes on behalf of sponsored projects up to the first $100,000, per project, and 5% of all sums processed in excess of this amount.  In addition, deadCENTER will deduct an additional 3% administrative fee on contributions which are delivered by credit card rather than check.

deadCENTER will issue you a 1099 tax form at the end of the year for the entire amount of the grants received on your behalf during the year.  It is your responsibility to maintain all other financial records and to account for income and expenses for all tax purposes relating to your receipt and use of the donations given to your project.

If you decide to seek our services as your fiscal sponsor, deadCENTER will serves as the project’s exclusive fiscal sponsor throughout the production of the project.  The target amount of funds to be raised must be a minimum of $25,000.  However, if you end up not being able to raise that amount, you are not penalized.  If you are also raising funds for the distribution of your project, we will consider acting as fiscal sponsor for your distribution and marketing financing efforts, provided you submit a further proposal detailing your plans for this phase to us for review and acceptance when you get to that point.

Who is eligible to apply for Fiscal Sponsorship?

To be considered, your project must be a full length (i.e., 60-minutes or longer) “non-commercial” project, i.e., limited to funding via the filmmaker’s personal funds, donations, grants, corporate sponsorship, and in-kind donations — and not by profit-seeking investors.  You must also agree that the completed project will be made available for screening by the deadCENTER Film Festival (with reasonable effort to make the project available for summer festival exhibition, but in any event for a presentation benefiting deadCENTER) at no cost prior to its commercial distribution.

Download the application HERE.


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deadCENTER Film Festival