Firelight Launches New Initiative for Filmmakers in the South and Midwest


Firelight Media is launching Groundwork, a new initiative created to expand the pipeline of independent, diverse filmmakers from the South and Midwest by introducing emerging artists to the opportunities that exist in the documentary landscape.

“Our goal is to help diverse filmmakers become more competitive for national programs such as ITVS Diversity Development Fund, and the National Minority Consortia,” says Firelight’s Documentary Lab Manager, Chloe Walters-Wallace. “We also see this program as a way to increase public television stations’ capacity to leverage the talent and content of local diverse makers.”

The programming for Groundwork will consist of a full day of in-depth workshops on proposal writing, development of work samples and understanding the funding landscape of documentary film. The learning content will be flexible in design to accommodate the local context and specific needs of each community.

Groundwork will also include panels addressing local initiatives and discussions on ways to connect with stations that will be produced in collaboration with local independent film organizations and PTV station partners.

For this inaugural workshop, ten filmmakers from Detroit and regions across Michigan were selected for participation via a nomination process in partnership with Firelight, the Detroit Narrative Agency, and Detroit Public Television.

Ideal candidates for this initiative are early career filmmakers from racially or ethnically underrepresented communities who have projects that exhibit strong potential but seek to find support to strengthen their work sample or written proposal. Eligible filmmakers should be living & working in the South/Midwest and currently working on their first non-fiction, long-form project. Filmmakers who have previously received support from a national program are ineligible.

Interested in Groundwork?

Filmmakers are only eligible by nomination. Are you a public tv station or film organization who would like to see Groundwork in your community? Please contact the Firelight Documentary Lab Manager Chloe Walters-Wallace at