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Greater Columbus Arts Council Awards Six Filmmakers $25,000 Grants

in Press Releases June 12, 2024 3 min read

Behind the scenes. Film crew team shooting movie scene on outdoor location. Group filmmaking set production

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) has awarded six filmmakers $25,000 each in grants for their Franklin County-based film projects, as part of its previously announced Artist Projects community-reviewed grants.

Since Film Columbus officially became part of GCAC in 2020, the visibility and support of filmmakers has increased dramatically. “After the pandemic and writer’s and actor’s strikes, Film Columbus awarded $50,000 in Pitch Cbus awards and GCAC provided more than $145,000 in grants and fellowships to filmmakers in 2023,” says John Daugherty, film commissioner and director at Film Columbus. “Thanks to the increased support from GCAC and the Columbus community, awards to filmmakers will increase to well over $375,000 this year.”

The Community Review process used to select the Artist Projects grantees is new this year and was highly successful in the first round. GCAC held its first Community Review Day on May 4 at the Ohio History Center, with 152 community reviewers assessing and discussing applications in groups before submitting scores for each one.

The public can learn more about how the Community-Based Review process works by reading GCAC’s guide to the Community-Based Review Process or by watching the video on why GCAC is embracing community grantmaking.

The list of filmmakers receiving first round Artist Projects grants of $25,000 include:

  • Rasel Ahmed
  • Julia Applegate
  • Lexi Clark-Stilianos
  • Eli Hiller
  • Mike Olenick
  • Sydnee Roberts-Crews

“So many great film applications came through in round one of Artist Projects and I’m thrilled for the six filmmakers who made it through to the end,” said Grants & Community Engagement Coordinator Khaila Carr. “Artist Projects is a special grant, because it recognizes that films typically have significantly larger budgets and therefore filmmakers need to raise more dollars to complete a project in comparison to the other disciplines GCAC serves. As manager of the program, I learned a lot from the applicants about the filmmaking process and what all goes into it. It’s not easy! I’m excited to see how $25,000 can help bring these projects to life.”

A second round of Artist Project Grants opens on August 1, 2024. More information can be found at

Additional opportunities for filmmakers include the 2024 Pitch Cbus Competition coming up this fall. This year’s competition will again be awarding $50,000 in cash and prizes. The much-acclaimed program gives filmmakers real-world experience in raising money and pitching their idea to a live audience and multiple judges to vie for the $15,000 top prize.

“Whenever I talk about Pitch CBus or mention it to potential judges, who are often successful producers and seasoned filmmakers, they are excited that a film commission is heading up such a program and love the idea,” says Daugherty. “It is stressful for a filmmaker to pitch their idea in five minutes. But it’s a necessary step when becoming a filmmaker. This is a great learning experience.”

For more information about Film Columbus and its initiatives, please visit

About the Greater Columbus Film Commission 

The Greater Columbus Film Commission (Film Columbus) aims to grow the film industry in Columbus and central Ohio by creating jobs and providing significant economic impact for the area. Film Columbus strives to build Columbus as a top city for film education, exhibition, and production. Film Columbus is a division of the Greater Columbus Arts Council and is primarily supported by funds provided by the City of Columbus. For more information, visit

Mission of the Greater Columbus Arts Council: To support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council receives major financial support from the City of Columbus, Franklin County Commissioners, the Ohio Arts Council and The Ohio State University.

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CONTACT: John Daugherty
(614) 221-8648