Firelight Media has announced the open call for its flagship Documentary Lab, an 18-month fellowship program that supports filmmakers in the U.S. from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities directing their first or second feature-length documentary project.
The Documentary Lab provides filmmakers with a US$25,000 grant toward their films, as well as customized mentorship from leaders in the documentary industry as well as professional development opportunities. The aim is to provide the filmmakers ongoing support from a project’s conception to its completion.
The last decade has seen the Documentary Lab grow from a mentorship program to an artist development initiative that has supported more than 100 emerging filmmakers and granted over $600,000 toward productions and distribution.
Documentary Lab fellows and alumni have enjoyed success in the past year: 2021 Fellow Jessica Kingdon’s Ascension received an Academy Award nomination for best documentary feature, the first Oscar nomination for a Documentary Lab alumni film; 2022 Fellow Isabel Castro’s Mija premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has since been acquired by Disney; and 2015 Fellow Melissa Haizlip’s Mr. Soul! was nominated for a Peabody Award.
Firelight Media is seeking applicants making artful, innovative documentary films focusing on underrepresented communities and providing new narratives about pressing issues. The Documentary Lab accepts applications from filmmakers of color based in the U.S., but currently does not accept internationally-based filmmakers. Applications are open through June 13.