Berkeley Film Foundation

Berkeley Film Foundation, Berkeley University


The Berkeley FILM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) grant and educational program for independent filmmakers founded by the City of Berkeley, Wareham Development, and the Saul Zaentz Company with a mission to nurture, sustain and preserve the thriving local film community while attracting the next generation of filmmakers. The BFF focuses on supporting social, historical and innovative documentary and dramatic works. Many of our grant winners have gone on to screen at U.S. and international film festivals, been recognized with prestigious awards, received television broadcasts and are making a difference around the world.
Berkeley Film Foundatin, Reality Winner film


Since the Berkeley FILM Foundation’s creation in 2009, the organization has funded 233 projects.

  • 80 were by filmmakers of color representing 34.33% of its total (Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian and Indigenous).
  • Other categories of diversity (LGBTQ+, Disabled and Senior filmmakers) make up 13.30 % or 31 projects funded.
  • Combined, 47.64% of BFF’s grantees fall into a Diversity category.
  • Black directors have produced 8.58% of the funded films, or 20 projects.
  • Additionally, 59.23% of films granted have been directed by women.
  • BFF has funded seven (7) films that have focused on Disability, three of which were directed by filmmakers who identify as having a disability.
  • Of the 151 grants given to white directors since 2009, 47% of the films by these directors have a non-white subject or address a topic highlighting underrepresented communities.
  • In 2020, 9 of the 15 grantees were BIPOC filmmakers, representing 60% of the winners.

a legacy for a future

In January 2024, The Berkeley FILM Foundation (BFF) received a generous grant from SZCF. The funding over a three-year period will augment BFF’s current grant program to fund local independent film projects, establishes new educational programs focused on filmmaking, and inaugurates the first annual Saul Zaentz Film Festival to be held September 14-15, 2024 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in partnership with the California Film Institute.