August 17, 2023

Exclusive: Firelight Media, American Masters open call for ‘In the Making’ short doc series

Firelight Media and the PBS doc strand ‘American Masters’ have opened the call for the third season of ‘In the Making,’ a documentary shorts series about emerging masters in various fields of art and culture.

Firelight and PBS say that they are seeking “cinematic and character-driven shorts” with a running time of 15 minutes or less, that profile artists from diverse and underrepresented communities. Of particular interest for this season of the series are stories exploring how the arts reflect U.S. culture and that take innovative approaches to non-fiction storytelling, dig deeply into the artistic process, and feature complex characters with unexpected trajectories.

The producing partners will select seven filmmakers to work with them through pre-production, production, post-production and distribution, with the selected projects each receiving up to $50,000 in funding from Firelight and ‘American Masters’ to put towards overall production costs. The final films will be showcased on the PBS series’ digital and social media platforms.

The call for proposals opened this week, and runs until Friday, July 14. Eligibility requirements and application details can be found on Firelight’s website.

“Firelight Media is pleased to continue our long and fruitful partnership with ‘American Masters’ with the third season of ‘In the Making,'” said Firelight Media co-founder and lead mentor Stanley Nelson, who serves as an executive producer of the series.

“We’re also thrilled to open up the call for submissions for this season beyond our network of filmmakers at Firelight, providing more opportunities for BIPOC filmmakers to make artful and innovative films profiling a new generation of emerging masters.”

‘In the Making’ was established to invite BIPOC filmmakers to create short films profiling BIPOC artists from any artistic discipline including music, visual art, poetry and dance. The series’ intent is to showcase artists who are on the rise, and whose work is deeply engaged with socio-cultural issues. The selected films are also ones that emphasize artistic process and each subject’s immersion in their community as working artists.

Some artists who have been featured in the series include actress Lily Gladstone (pictured), chef Ethan Lim, visual artists Sydney G. James and Damon Davis, poet and performer Amyra León, and musicians Anik Khan and Walshy Fire.

Films previously included in the series have premiered at film festivals like Sundance and Big Sky, and have been nominated for Webby Awards. The first season of ‘In the Making’ was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short-form Series – Reality/Nonfiction.

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