The Rapha Film Fund
Searching for aspiring filmmakers with incredible stories of a life lived by bike.
28 September 2023
Some of our best films were formed outside Rapha walls, ideas brought to us from people and places beyond the reach of our own radius. Our goal has always been to tell authentic, inspiring stories that celebrate cycling with character. That’s why we launched the Rapha Film Fund, a programme designed to help support those with a captivating idea to bring their film to life on Rapha’s YouTube.
THE 2023 RECIPIENT
Chad Unger is a Deaf Gay photographer based in Los Angeles. Whilst his primary focus is photography, Chad also finds filmmaking a closely related form of visual storytelling. Chad’s journey into film began with his original dream to become a professional snowboarder. Picking up every skateboarder's favourite camera, the Sony VX1000, he soon found himself more drawn to the storytelling behind the scene than capturing the snowboard tricks themselves.
“The biggest opportunity that the Film Fund will provide me is the chance to tell a story in my own way, with a focus on the communities I am deeply connected with, namely the Deaf and Queer communities.”
Around six months ago Chad participated in the AIDS LifeCycle, a ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in order to raise money for and awareness about AIDS. When he started training for it, Chad quickly became hooked.
“For me, it is a form of meditation and a tool for maintaining my mental health. I tend to get restless easily, and cycling has proven to be an excellent way for me to expel the excess energy I often have. I am absolutely hooked, to the point where I even started watching all of the Grand Tours”.
Chad will use the Rapha Film Fund as an opportunity to shed light on the experiences and perspectives within the Deaf and Queer communities and how cycling plays a transformative role in people’s lives.
“I am excited to amplify their stories and share their narratives with a broader audience. I’m also excited about the creative process itself and the chance to explore innovative ways of storytelling, combining my passion for cycling, filmmaking, and the Deaf and Queer communities into a compelling narrative that resonates with people on a personal and emotional level.”
Congratulations Chad! We are incredibly excited to begin working alongside you.
March 2 - Submissions open.
April 25 - Submissions close.
April - Rapha jury review submissions.
May - Five finalists are shortlisted and invited to submit a pitch.
June - Jury will select the recipient to receive the Rapha Film Fund.
July - The recipient and Rapha will develop their idea.
August - Filming to begin.
September - Edit, grade and sound mix.
October - The recipient is invited for a Q&A and screening of their film.
November - Film launch.
Why are you only accepting pitches from those based in the USA?
The original Continental series was born in the US, one of Rapha’s key markets. We are seeking submissions from the U.S who can help identify unique access to truly ‘Rapha’ stories. We have a great pedigree in telling stories around somewhat euro-centric points of view and what cycling means to that audience. So we are now looking to capture insights of a more U.S-based audience.
I’ve never made a film before, should I still apply?
Definitely! This opportunity is open to anyone across the U.S., irrespective of their experience. The chosen filmmaker(s) will be given guidance by Rapha’s film team and other filmmaking professionals. We particularly encourage submissions from underrepresented groups.
What kind of ideas are you looking for?
We want to unearth the next inspiring stories of those who live their life by bike and embody Rapha’s values. Pitches must be submitted on the theme of “Living life by bike”, and your film concept can interpret this in a way that is relevant to you.
How long should the film be?
The film should be between 5 and 15 minutes long.
What happens to my submitted idea if my film doesn’t get chosen?
All submissions are anonymised for the jury. Those not shortlisted will be notified by email no later than 4 weeks after submissions close and their data will be removed.
Is this opportunity open to people outside of the U.S.A?
Can I enter with another filmmaker?
Yes, we accept submissions from solo, duo, teams, co-operatives etc. Only one idea can be submitted per any of these groups.
Who decides which film is selected?
Led by Rapha, our Head of Editorial, Associate Creative Director, Brand Producer, Film Creative and Brand Manager will choose the shortlisted submissions and eventual winner, alongside Chrris Lowe who directed our film, In Tandem.
Will I get paid for my film?
The prize of this film fund is to create a short documentary film with a budget of $25,000. Within each film’s budget, we encourage the winner to ensure that all involved in the production are fairly compensated.
What if my film already has partial funding? Do you allow match funding?
No. For the purposes of this film fund you must work within the budget of $25,000.
I'm having issues making my submission.
Please contact: email@example.com with any questions.