Fiscal Sponsorship

The Fiscal Sponsorship program is designed to help filmmakers get their projects funded through donations to the nonprofit Des Moines Film Society. This allows producers to seek donors rather than investors and for those donations to serve as charitable contribution deductions on federal tax returns.


In some cases, Fiscal Sponsorship may also allow filmmakers to apply for grants which must go through a 501c3 organization.


Fiscal Sponsorship is a good option for projects at any scale, from a feature length narrative or documentary down to a short film simply looking to raise a few hundred or thousand dollars. It may also be used to fund any portion of the process, from pre-production through post-production and distribution.


How much does it cost?

There is a $100 setup fee to begin a fiscal sponsorship. DMFS also deducts 5% from donated funds at the time of dispersal. We are confident you will find our fees the lowest around.


Who is eligible for a fiscal sponsorship?

Our nonprofit mission is to grow the film culture in Des Moines and the state of Iowa. Therefore, any arts-based film project created by or significantly impacting Iowans is eligible. When you contact DMFS, we will work through the details of your specific project to ensure eligibility.


What do I get once my film is fiscally sponsored?

The biggest benefit to you the filmmaker is the ability to solicit donations to fund your film. Because those donations come through the nonprofit DMFS, those donors may receive tax deduction benefits. DMFS will provide documentation for your donors. In some cases, you may also be able to apply for specific grants which must go through a 501c3 organization.


As a fiscally sponsored project, you also get connected to other resources for producing and distributing your film, including connection to other local filmmakers who have gone through the process. As this program grows, we want to provide not only a fundraising mechanism, but foster a network or resources and mentors for filmmakers throughout the production process.


How do I apply?

Due to the complexity and nuances of fiscal sponsorship, you will need to first contact DMFS President Ben Godar to discuss your project and arrange a meeting.



Current Fiscally Sponsored Projects:


Turn Yourself In

“Turn Yourself In” is a true crime documentary exploring the disappearance and murder of two young Iowa girls. On July 13th 2012 in Evansdale, IA cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins set out on a bike ride and never returned. Five months later their remains were found at a wildlife refuge in rural Bremer County. After years of no answers the community is on edge.



“JustUs” is a 52-minute documentary about former prisoners’ successful reentry into society, co-produced and narrated by a current prisoner. Set in Des Moines, IA, it centers the stories of Black Iowans, previously incarcerated for serious crimes, who managed to rehabilitate themselves and each other, ultimately reintegrating and contributing positively to society.


Operation Restoration

“OPERATION RESTORATION” is a documentary that chronicles the incredible true-life stories of Jim Bonner and Steve Gern. After spending the better part of their lives in daily combat overseas in the Global War on Terror, they’ve returned home and are now in the midst of another battle – to restore their lives while battling PTSD.



“COUNTERFEIT” is a short film noir comedy about an aging, obsessive method actor desperate for a career comeback and an ambitious younger woman who’s stymied in her assignment as an undercover homicide detective in small town Palookaville. Each attempt to deceive the other with false identities and subterfuge after their first encounter at a local bar. But this façade of hiring a hitman begins to quickly unravel inside his motel room when she visits him as a battered, distressed housewife and makes an impassioned plea to close the deal.


Little Johnny Jewell

Little Johnny Jewel is a left-field black comedy, the first American feature film from award-winning British writer-director Jude Rawlins.