Submissions for the 2017 grant are now open! 

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At Other Worlds Austin, our passion for Science Fiction extends beyond our film festival. This year, OWA (with the co-sponsorship of The O'Bannon Company) will award a grant--$2,000 for the production or post-production of a short film--to an emerging Texas filmmaker who exhibits an equal passion for Science Fiction.  It is our wish to be able to help bring more quality SciFi into the world by contributing to an artist who shows promise, skill, and creativity, as well as to encourage the exciting Texas film scene.  A $2,000 grant will be gifted to a filmmaker whose proposed short film follows our mission statement’s explanation of a phenomenal SciFi film: a great story that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of the audience, thrilling them both visually and intellectually.
Submissions for the 2017 grant are now open!  In November, an independent panel of seven esteemed professionals from the film community will convene to review applications. The grant winner will be announced in the fall with OWA’s film lineup and posted on our website at that time.


Jim Brunzell, Festival Programmer
Jim Brunzell III is the Program Director for the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) in Austin, Texas, as well as festival director for the music film festival Sound Unseen in the Twin Cities, MN, and lead programmer for the Flyway Film Festival in Stockholm & Pepin, WI. He is also a film journalist whose work has appeared in Twin Cities Daily Planet, Star Tribune, City Pages, 89.3 the Current, MinnPost and Hammer to Nail where he has covered Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, True/False, Fantastic Fest, Seattle, Tribeca, MSPIFF and Chicago international film festivals. He has served on festival juries in Newport Beach, Milwaukee, Nashville, Knoxville and Bend, OR. He is also a big sports nerd.

Meredith Johns, SFX Artist and Production House Executive 
Meredith Johns was born and raised in Austin, TX. She grew up in a family of artists ranging from ceramics and oil painting to woodworking and lampwork bead making. Sculpting, painting, and constantly pursuing outlets for her creativity was a part of life for Meredith, so it’s not surprising that she sought out an artistic career. She met business partner Carolyn O’Hara on set and abandoned her budding graphic design career to start Hawgfly Productions, Inc. Her favorite part of her job as a makeup artist is the constant challenge that new projects present and the exciting results of hard work and great ingenuity. Meredith was nominated for a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for her makeup work on Temple Grandin. Some of Meredith’s other credits include Stoker (SFX Makeup Artist), Machete Kills (Key SFX Prosthetics Makeup), Mission Park (Makeup Department Head), Machete (SFX Makeup Department Head), True Grit (Makeup), Friday the 13th – Part XII (Prop Fabricator), Exit Speed (Key SFX Makeup), and Teeth (Makeup).

Jean Ann Lauer, Fest Programmer/Director
Jean joined the staff at Cine Las Americas in preparation for the 2009 festival, bringing with her a dedication to the development and promotion of independent and international film. She enjoys working with a talented and diverse team at Cine, to curate and present selections of Latin@, American Indigenous, and Ibero-American film and media, during the annual festival and other events throughout the year. Find out more about Ms. Lauer in our exclusive interview!

Andrew Matthews, Filmmaker
Andrew Matthews is an Austin filmmaker whose recent film Zero Charisma, which he wrote and co-directed, won the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award at SXSW 2013 and will be released by Tribeca Film and the Nerdist Industries in mid-October. He is also the editor of the award- winning documentaries Best Worst Movie and The American Scream (winner, Best Documentary, Fantastic Fest 2012).

Mike Saulters, Journalist 
Herding programmers by day and slinging words by night, Mike came to Austin twenty years ago hoping to make movies. After the requisite seven years to complete a CS degree at UT, he found he was perfectly happy watching and writing about them while working separately in a field that's much more suited to keeping bills paid. He has contributed scores of reviews for Ain't It Cool News writing under the nom-de-clavier Augustus Gloop, mostly festival coverage for AFF, SXSW and Fantastic Fest. Want to know more? Check out our mini-profile about Mike!

Tishuan Scott, Actor
An Oprah Winfrey Scholar, Tishuan attended Morehouse College, where he matriculated towards earning his Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Psychology in 2002. He then attended the University of California - Los Angeles School of Theater, Film & Television, as a Lloyd Bridges/MGM Outer Limits Fellow, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting in 2006.
Tishuan was awarded the 2013 SXSW Breakthrough Performance - Special Jury Recognition for Acting in his star turning lead role as "Nate," a freedman gravedigger for the Federal Union Army in THE RETRIEVAL by Chris Eska. Scott also plays "Keneiloe," a Ghanaian Guru, in Andrew Bujalski's 2013 Sundance Alfred P. Sloan Award Winner, COMPUTER CHESS. Think Tishuan is pretty cool? Read our mini-profile piece!

Christine Thompson, Journalist
Christine Thompson is the Publisher and Editor of AMFM Magazine, a film and music editorial that has had nearly 15 million views since its inception.  She is a music and film enthusiast, having produced award-winning indie shorts for AMFM Studios, LLC since 2003.  AMFM Magazine was started in order to give voice to the Indie Artist of all persuasions, music, film, literary, and others.  She is a third-culture kid (military brat) and spent most of her formative years in Europe until attending the University of Tennessee, where she received a degree in Communications.

Wondering if your project is considered SciFi? Check out: 
Please email if you have any questions regarding the grant.

Please scroll down to check the 2017 Eligibility and Restrictions. 
If you are eligible to apply, here are the steps to complete your application: 

1. Read the application instructions thoroughly before preparing your application.
2. Fill out the online Other Worlds Austin Dan O’Bannon Filmmaking Award Application Form here:
3. Email your supporting material to including: 

  • Project budget
  • Project description (not to exceed 3 pages)
  • Project timeline (not to exceed 1 page)
  • Project personnel (key bios not to exceed 1 page)
  • Treatment, Script or Outline
  • Optional: Additional support materials (letters of recommendation, storyboards, etc.)
    All attachments must be in PDF form.

4. Submit a password-protected Vimeo File, 5-10 minutes in length on the online application OR Mail in your video work samples (3 copies required, playable DVDs).  Mailing address is: P.O. Box 204295, Austin TX 78720. NOTE: This film component is required, even if it is a non-SciFi film as a representative sample of the director’s work. Rough cuts of the grant requested project are perfectly acceptable when seeking post-production funding.
5. All application materials must be submitted by October 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM CDT time to be considered for the 2017 grant.  The video work sample, if mailed, must be postmarked by  October 15, 2017.

DO NOT WAIT until the last minute to fill out your application! Delay and tech issues may occur - hasty applications will reflect poorly on your project.


  • Application must be made by the creative author of the final work. This is typically defined as the director. Producers, editors, crew people, and writers who are not in creative control of the final project are not eligible to apply. Awards will not be made to organizations. The applicant name(s) will appear with the project on all publicity materials when the 2017 grant recipient is announced.
  • The project must be Science Fiction. Wondering if your project is SciFi? Check out: 
  • Applicant must be a Texas Resident. Some preference may be given to Austin-based filmmakers if all other criteria is equal. Film does NOT need to be shot in Texas.
  • Projects must be independent productions. “Independent production” means a production under the artistic, budgetary and editorial control of the individual owning copyright. No consideration will be given to industrial or promotional pieces or “works-for-hire.” Primarily episodic works (television shows, web series) also will not be considered. Projects that have received funding from an outside corporation or production company, whether or not they have any artistic control, will not be considered. This grant is intended for a filmmaker raising their own money to make their own film to show on the festival circuit. 
  • Application must be for the production or post-production stages. No consideration will be given for applications requesting pre-production or development funds.



Project Budget should include the following:
EXPENSES, from pre-production through distribution (do not forget to set aside money for deliverables to festivals like BluRay or DCP creation and even festival submission fees). Include any in-kind offerings here as well (cast and crew working for free, free locations, props/cameras you own). Value these at a level you would assume you would have to pay for them for a production this size. You should have three columns for all expenses - Actual and In Kind and these two add up to Total.
RESOURCES, from all income sources including your own contribution, in-kind donations as listed above, other grants already received or anticipated, other investors, crowd-funding, etc. NOTE: Your total Resources should EQUAL your total Expenses.
There are many ways to do a budget, but be as thorough as possible. A well-developed budget shows that you have really thought through your project. A sample budget is available to download as part of the sample supporting materials packet. Your budget does not have to follow this exact format, it is only a guideline, just be sure it has all the same information.  If you already have a great budget document, there is no reason to reinvent that for this application.


Not to exceed three (3) pages total. The bulk of your project description should focus on what makes your SciFi project unique--in other words, the story! We are basically asking you to describe your project. Simple as this sounds, the description should also provide a distinctive visual picture of your story as well as your personal style. The challenge is to write clearly and concisely while also conveying enthusiasm for your SciFi project. If you hook the panelists here, you're in the running; if you confuse them or bore them, your other materials will have to be extra strong to win them back. 

Description of the story of the film with details about stylistic approach, visual elements, story structure, and thematic threads. (Recommend 3 paragraphs). 
Description of your production plan, creative team, and information about project status to date. (Recommend 2 paragraphs). 
Information about your target audience and distribution plans. Remember, this grant is primarily intended for filmmakers to make a film for the festival circuit and use to generate future interest in the director’s work. (Recommend 1 paragraph). 
Details regarding your fundraising strategy and how the OWA grant funds will be used. This is extremely important. OWA is interested in funding a project where our investment will make a difference. $1500 does not go very far if your entire budget is $50,000. (Recommend 1 paragraph).


Detail production status and timeline. List the key stages of your production, with the time allotted to each and anticipated dates. Timeline should cover the project from pre-production all the way through distribution. Limit 1 page.


Not to exceed one (1) page total. Paragraph biographies (no resumes, please) of key personnel (e.g., director, writer, director of photography, editor). Emphasis should be on relevant experience, film credits, accolades.


It is required that you include a finished script with your application. This should be a reading version, not a shooting script - we don’t need to know where you intend to use a dutch angle, etc.


Not to exceed five (5) pages total. Include letters of support, reviews, articles or additional video links (see below). Support materials must be uploaded as a PDF.


Vimeo link and password in application, or mail in 3 playable DVD's. Your video sample must be 5-10 minutes in length. This means that your DVD or Vimeo link will contain a 5-10 minute reel showcasing your work. It is up to you what you include in this reel. You can include several short scenes from different projects that would exhibit similarities to your proposed project, or 5-10 minutes from the proposed film (perhaps a polished scene or two that will give the panel a good sense of what this project will be like.)

If you would like to submit more than 10 minutes of video, you may submit links as “additional supporting material.” It is likely that this material will be reviewed if the panel is strongly considering your proposal, particularly if you are submitting a rough cut of the proposed film. Additional video MUST be submitted as a typed web address and password in your Additional Support Material pdf. Additional video may not be mailed. 

 APPLICATION FORM (What you'll need:)

General Information
First Name:                                               
Last Name:

Applicant Role:

Street Address:

Primary Phone:

Email Address:

Texas Credentials: (how long have you lived here, where all have you lived, worked, relationships with other Texas filmmakers, festivals etc.)

Project Information
Project Title:


Shooting Medium: (Film/Non-Professional HD [including cell phone]/HD/Red)

*Project Website:

*Project Facebook:

*Filmmaker Website:

*Filmmaker Facebook:

Total Budget (including in-kind):

Total Cash Cost:

Detail how the OWA Grant would be used:

Video Sample Information
Link to 5-10 minute Work Sample:


Sample length:

Describe what you have submitted as your video sample. Include details such as what the submitted project is, how it relates to the proposed project applying for funding, what production team members are shared




Other Worlds Austin will provide a check for $2,000, payable to the applicant, upon the announcement of the grant offer. The winner is not required under any circumstance to submit their film to the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival. In fact, we would far prefer the film play Austin at one of the larger festivals (SXSW, Fantastic Fest, AFF, aGLIFF). Should the winner desire to submit to Other Worlds Austin, that submission, as well as all future submissions, will be free. The winner also agrees to the following:

  • Filmmaker will update OWA on the progress of the film on a regular basis or when asked.
  • Filmmaker must pledge in good faith that all effort will be made to have the film completed before the end of the next calendar year [December 31, 2018].
  • Filmmaker will include the statement  “Partially funded through a grant from Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival” as well as an OWA logo in white or black at the conclusion of their credits, and on screen for no less than 2 seconds.
  • Filmmaker will allow OWA to feature the film in marketing material and the website, and will provide the festival with stills, trailers, and other supporting materials so that we can adequately promote it.
  • If the film ever appears online on a free website, Filmmaker agrees the film may also be embedded on the OWA website, either as a link to the film, or uploaded to our own servers or online account. In short, film must be viewable on the OWA website (this is very simple, if you upload it to your vimeo account or youtube, we are just embedding that upload on our website - so you still get all the views etc., people are just watching it on our website. It’s just a problem if embedded is not enabled, some websites looking for ‘exclusive’ content do that.)
  • Filmmaker acknowledges that they have read all of the OTHER WORLDS AUSTIN DAN O'BANNON FILMMAKER AWARD (a.k.a. Grant) rules, and understands and has and will comply with these rules. Filmmaker warrants the submission of original work and there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the underlying creative material that will serve as the basis of the film (i.e. Filmmaker has the legal right to make this film). Filmmaker also warrants the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead and fully indemnifies OTHER WORLDS AUSTIN against any claim made for such violations of law. To the best of Filmmaker’s knowledge, all of the statements herein are true and correct. Filmmaker understands that failure to adhere to the Grant rules will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry. Filmmaker agrees to hold OTHER WORLD AUSTIN harmless from and defend them against all claims, demands losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses (including attorney's fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any material submitted to the Festival for the Grant.

The 2016 inaugural OWA Dan O'Bannon Filmmaking Award goes to the team behind THE GOLDEN RECORD PROJECT.

Logline: Inspired by the true story behind NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Mission, famed astronomer Carl Sagan and author Ann Druyan lead a team challenged with encapsulating “what it means to be human” onto a Golden Record that, billions of years later, becomes integral to the survival of a descendant of humanity: an AI astronaut.

Christopher Sibley, Writer/Director
Andrew Van Wyk, Writer/Producer
Sean Faulk, Writer
Michael Stine, Director of Photography

“THE GOLDEN RECORD PROJECT is a love letter to science, astronomers, artists, film-watchers, and aliens,” says Don Elfant, OWA Director of Marketing & Development. “It is beautifully conceived and thoroughly well-planned. The scope is both intimate and cinematic. We are proud to present the inaugural Dan O’Bannon Award to THE GOLDEN RECORD PROJECT. It represents everything Other Worlds Austin stands for. We can’t wait to see it on the big screen!”

Writer/Director Christopher Sibley says, “I believe the grant holds value because of the alliance forged between OWA and our team. Being associated with OWA both strengthens the legitimacy of our project and acts as another potential avenue for marketing and awareness.”

© 2014 OWA SciFi Film Fest, LLC