Digital Art Collective Nouns Announces $1M Funding for Indie Animated Shorts

The global community, which funds art, technology, and public goods projects, is now accepting submissions of short film project ideas. Top 50 completed films will participate in the Fall 2024 Nouns Fest celebration.

Digital art collective Nouns has announced Nouns Fest, a short film competition and festival that offers grants from a $1 million pool, one of the largest funding sources for independent animated shorts. Animators can submit ideas for consideration by a team of judges assembled by Nouns. This global artistic community has invested over $50 million to fund open-source art, technology, and public goods projects.




Nouns Fest will fund shorts of varying lengths, with budgets ranging from $7,500 to $20,000; you can apply here. Final animated shorts must incorporate interpretations of one or more of the “Nouns” digital art characters generated by Nouns and auctioned off daily at Once funded, all rights to the animated shorts, concepts, and characters will belong solely to creators, underscoring Nouns’ commitment to a free market of art and ideas.

The animation, production, and development communities will come together to celebrate independent animation at Nouns Fest in Fall 2024. Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which helped conceive the project and secure the involvement of Nouns, will produce three original shorts to debut at the festival.

“We’re excited to create a platform that allows artists from across the globe to bring their ideas to life,” says Nouns Fest co-founder and senior development executive Chris Waters. “Our goal is to empower and encourage animators—and give them total creative control.”

Stoopid Buddy co-founder Eric Towner is also a co-founder of Nouns Fest, which held its first animated shorts festival last year.

“There’s no easy avenue for creators of animated shorts to get their work produced, and we wanted to change that,” said Towner. “At the same time, true creative freedom is at the core of what Nouns does, so it’s at the very core of what we’re doing.”

Nouns Fest’s co-founders include former head of development for Adult Swim, Walter Newman; Nouns veteran Joel Cares; music executive Joshua Fisher; and award-winning animator and director Goldy.

Full details about applying for the Nouns Fest grant program and its governing rules are available here.

Waters added, “We want to hear from the best, most creative, most exciting animators in the world, whether they work professionally or are seeking to break into the animation industry.”

50 completed films will participate in the Fall 2024 Nouns Fest celebration. The event’s date and location will be announced in spring.

Founded in 2021, Nouns is a global, community-run organization that uses the proceeds from the sale of digital collectibles to fund open-source technology, art, and public works projects.

Nouns Fest is the evolution of “Nouns Short Shorts,” an animation competition and festival that led to the production of 17 animated short films in 2023. In June 2023, Nouns Fest held its first festival at BrainDead Studios in L.A., featuring work from some of the top independent animators in the world. Watch them here.