DW Akademie is Deutsche Welle’s center for media development, journalism training and knowledge transfer. Our projects strengthen the human right to freedom of expression and access to information. DW Akademie empowers people worldwide to make independent decisions based on reliable facts and constructive dialogue.

The DW Akademie Film Development Fund is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


DW Akademie’s Film Development Fund is specifically designed to support filmmakers in the development phase of their film projects. The fund’s overall objective is to strengthen the film industry in Ethiopia through a strategic combination of financing support and the training of select filmmakers. Targeted training and development initiative aim to improve the filmmakers’ employment opportunities, and with an increased recognition of Ethiopia’s film sector, attract foreign investors to the industry.

  1. The funding is for the development phase of the film’s overall production. This is the phase for creating ideas, writing screenplays, acquiring financing, contracting rights, etc. The development phase includes but is not limited to the following activities:
    • Script development
    • Pitching
    • Financing
    • Development of marketing or distribution strategies
  1. Eligible formats are fictional and non-fictional feature-length films (minimum length: 60 minutes) and short films.
  2. Eligible applicants are scriptwriters, directors and/or producers who have previously worked on at least one fictional or non-fictional production that has been commercially released either locally or internationally (e.g. theatre release, screening in a national or international festival, TV broadcast, digital third party broadcast, etc.). Eligible are Ethiopian citizens who live and work in Ethiopia as well as legal entities (e.g. production companies, NGOs etc.) based in Ethiopia.
  3. The project funding is for a one-year period.
  4. The maximum funding is 10,000 €. The jury will decide on the allocation and level of funding.
  5. Unless otherwise detailed in the awarded grant contract, all ownership and rights to the ideas submitted will remain with the original rights holders.
  6. The fund will not be granted if the development activity applied for has already received funding elsewhere.
  7. Projects funded must adhere to the values of the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UDHR). Projects that violate the UDHR will not be supported, in particular if those projects whose contents glorify war, physical, psychological or sexual violence or contents which offend moral or religious feelings.

DW Akademie qualification measure

DW Akademie will provide a mentoring program in combination with workshops.

Applicants will be asked to include information regarding their individual training and skills development needs with their application so that DW Akademie can provide a tailor-made training program for each grantee. Each grantee will be assigned a mentor who will guide and support the filmmaker throughout the project period. DW Akademie will also provide workshops where required (such as for the fields of marketing, distribution and financing).

Application process and required supporting documents

Candidates must submit their application in full and in time of the respective deadlines.

Documents to be submitted

    • Treatment or first draft of a script
    • Application form
      The application form is available online here. Should you not be able to work with the application form while online, please download the pdf version and send it to
    • Activity schedule
      Your activity schedule should include a well-defined description of the outcomes you aim to achieve; tasks that need to be undertaken to reach those goals; resources needed to complete the tasks; a corresponding time schedule indicating when the tasks are to be completed. Please use the activity schedule template provided by DW Akademie.
    • Budget
      The costs of the project for which you are requesting funding should be based on local industry standards and must be calculated according to the principle of economical management. Please note that after examining the application documents, the DW Akademie Film Development Fund will decide on the allocation of funds. Please use the sample budget form provided by DW Akademie.
    • Assigning an accountant
      To guarantee the correct billing DW Akademie will decide whether you will need to hire an accountant for the billing procedure in case your project has been shortlisted.

Application process

Once all applications are in, DW Akademie will make a shortlist of candidates and may conduct one-on-one interviews with some of those who have been pre-selected. This would happen approximately four weeks after the deadline.
A jury will then select up to five projects. Grantees will be announced approximately two months after the application deadline has expired.
It is not possible to submit applications for more than one project.
There is no legal claim to funding.

Grant contract and disbursement

DW Akademie will provide a grant contract to each of the selected grantees. The funds will be disbursed in instalments.
Details with regards to the funding of the project will be set down in a grant contract and to be concluded upon selection of the applicant(s).