About the Cary Fukunaga Production Fund

The Cary Fukunaga Production Fund is a $20,000 fund given to a NYU Tisch Grad Film thesis student whose proposed project demonstrates a deep and abiding commitment to filmmaking featuring Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) stories and/or voices. 

2022 Fukunaga Recipient 

Fran Zayas, Writer Director
Fran Zayas, Writer Director

FRAN ZAYAS for Remnants 

Remnants: After his local cemetery was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, an unrelenting young man must secretly retrieve and escape with the displaced remains of his mother in order to give them a proper burial.

BIO: Fran Zayas is a filmmaker from Lares, Puerto Rico. Through the lens of genre and non-traditional storytelling, Zayas explores themes of morality, self-purpose, and grief.

2022 Fukunaga Finalists

  • black man with beard, wearing hat and airpods, gazes slightly off camera. blurred cityscape behind him.

    Derrick Woodyard

    Love Taps

    A young boy copes with his parents' separation by fighting his father after discovering his affair with another woman.

  • Black & white picture of a young Asian woman with short hair wearing earings and a pullover, looking directly at the camera.

    Louise Zhang

    No Pets Allowed

    In a future where pets are outlawed by the government, Ping, a man with a desperate case of erectile dysfunction, puts his last hope for a son in a turtle.


  • There is no application fee.

  • The CFPF is looking for a Grad Film thesis student whose proposed project demonstrates a deep and abiding commitment to filmmaking featuring Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) stories and/or voices.

  • Application Portal Link Here


  • This fund is intended for students who have yet to begin their thesis project but have completed (or are in the final semester of) the first two years of coursework in Grad Film.

  • Prospective films should be narrative short thesis projects from current Grad Film students.

  • Applicants should apply with a project that can be completed within two years of receiving the fund.

  • To apply for the fund, the applicant must be attached to the film as the DIRECTOR.

  • Directors may have written or co-written submitted scripts and may also apply with a script written by a third party as long as proper credit is given to the writer AND the director has the rights to develop the project. 

  • If you are unsure if you are eligible, email


1. All applicants must submit a completed application via this application by May 3, 2024 to be considered for the fund.

2. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS (detailed instructions are available on form):

  1. Resume

  2. Synopsis & Logline

  3. Script

  4. Budget

  5. Production Schedule

  6. Previously directed materials (via link)

  7. Personal Statement

  8. Potential Cast & Crew List

  9. Mentorship Commitment and Statement

  10. Lookbook


  • Additional/Supplemental materials are NOT accepted.

  • There will be NO opportunity to update your script once the deadline is passed. Submit a script that is ready for evaluation.

  • Though you may apply for the Production Fund each year for as many years as you are eligible, you may only submit the same project, no matter how revised, TWICE.


  • Applications are due May 3, 2024.

  • Finalists will be announced in Summer 2024.

  • The Fund Recipient will be announced in Summer 2024.

Grad Film alumnus Cary Fukunaga’s short film VICTORIA PARA CHINO is a harrowing account of the deadliest smuggling incident in U.S history, where dozens of Central American and Mexican immigrants died in a refrigerated trailer in Victoria, Texas. Shot during his second year at NYU and screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the short won a Student Academy Award in 2005, along with numerous other accolades. A prolific writer and director, Fukunaga has received critical acclaim for his feature films SIN NOMBRE, JANE EYRE, and BEASTS OF NO NATION. His television work includes directing the first season of the HBO series True Detective which earned five Primetime Emmy nominations and wins in the Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Directing categories. Fukunaga is also the first American to helm a Bond film, with NO TIME TO DIE.