EXCLUSIVE: Firelight Media has today named its latest cohort of Fellows for its flagship mentoring program, the Firelight Documentary Lab, which is now in its thirteenth year.
The participants and projects set for the 18-month program, taking place from 2022-2024, are Neelu Bhuman (Chiragu (Wing)), D.A. Bullock (Mister Backlash), Silvia Castaños & Estefania Contreras (Hummingbirds), Naveen Chaubal (Pinball), Paulina Davis (The Co-op: The Kids of Dorie Miller), Athena Jones (Sisters’ Keepers), Logan Rozos (What Will I Become?), Juliana Schatz Preston (Providencia), Jiayan “Jenny” Shi (Untitled Scientist Project), Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Holder of the Sky), Lendl Tellington (…that’s why He made momma), Reveca Torres (Untitled (Art and Disability Culture)) and Raven Two Feathers (Indigenous Genders).
This year’s set of Documentary Lab projects include stories of transgender and nonbinary protagonists in search of supportive communities; profiles of politicians and activists seeking to reform racially biased policies and practices in housing and policing; an exploration of the legacy and contributions of disabled visual artists; and an investigation into the disproportionately high rate of breast cancer deaths among Black women.
Firelight Media co-founders Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith launched the Lab in 2009 as a means of supporting filmmakers of color working on their first or second feature-length documentary film. The company awards each project accepted with a $25,000 grant, also providing filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, professional development retreats, and networking opportunities.
“We are excited to welcome this talented new cohort of filmmakers to our Documentary Lab,” said Firelight Media’s Senior Vice President, Leticia Peguero. “Now more than ever we need documentaries that are representative of, and accountable to, the protagonists and communities they center. And we need filmmakers who are motivated to challenge dominant narratives about communities of color by representing their lived realities.”