Documentary Lab

Firelight Media’s flagship Documentary Lab seeks out and develops emerging filmmakers of color who make artful and innovative nonfiction films. The 18-month Documentary Lab provides filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, as well as funding, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.

APPLICATION is CURRENTY CLOSED

More than just a workshop, the Documentary Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse producers, creating an exclusive network of talented, unique storytellers that receive ongoing support from a project’s conception to its completion. Over the last decade, the Documentary Lab grew from a mentorship program to a robust artist development initiative that has supported over 100 emerging filmmakers, and granted over $600k toward productions and distribution.

Meet the 2020-2022 Documentary Lab Fellows

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OVERVIEW

The Firelight Media Documentary Lab is an 18-month fellowship program that supports filmmakers in the United States from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities working on their first or second feature-length documentary film. The Documentary Lab provides filmmakers with a $15,000 grant toward their projects as well as customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.

We look for applicants who make artful and innovative documentary films that focus on underrepresented communities and provide new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time. Firelight Media will consider all types of long-form documentary projects – historical, investigative, personal, vérité, and experimental.

Firelight Media utilizes the Core Documentary Application. As part of your submission, you will need to share a work sample no less than 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes.

REQUIREMENTS
  • Only the director of the film is eligible to apply and enter the program. We can accept co-directors if they meet all eligibility requirements. If you’re applying with your co-director, please indicate that in your application.
  • Filmmaker must be from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community and be residing in the United States, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories.
  • The project must be a long-form/feature-length documentary; the Lab does not accept short documentaries, series, or fiction projects of any kind.
  • Film must be a work-in-progress. We accept films from early production through production or post-production. We do not accept films in pre-production or completed films.
  • Filmmaker must be an emerging documentary filmmaker (working on their first or second feature length documentary).
  • Filmmaker cannot submit a student film to the lab.
  • Firelight Media accepts applications from filmmakers of color based in the United States regardless of their citizenship status. At the moment, we do not accept filmmakers who are based internationally for this program.


SELECTION PROCESS

You will receive a notification of the status of your application within 18 weeks. If you are among a small group of finalists who advance through a series of peer reviews, you may be asked for additional information or project updates.

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