Short Films

Firelight Media produces documentary short film series in partnership with a variety of public media organizations and production companies. Ongoing series include 'In the Making,' in partnership with PBS American Masters, and our new collection of regional shorts, 'HOMEGROWN: Future Visions,' presented in partnership with the Center for Asian American Media.




View past short film productions from Firelight Media on the Watch page.

Firelight Media recently invited emerging filmmakers living in the American Midwest who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) to submit proposals or works-in-progress for a new digital shorts initiative, HOMEGROWN: Future Visions. That collection will premiere in 2023.

Our upcoming collection HOMEGROWN: Future Visions will focus on Midwestern stories. The eight selected filmmakers will receive $35,000 to produce an 8-10 minute non-fiction short film. The filmmakers will work with Firelight Media from development through distribution, and will receive mentorship by established independent filmmakers. Additionally, filmmakers will be paired with a local public media station for additional editorial and audience engagement support, with a focus on local expertise and communities. Selected films will be distributed through public media with a planned release for late Fall 2022.

Note: Proposals for HOMEGROWN: Future Visions are no longer being accepted. See an archived version of the call for proposals below.

Creative Brief

We seek projects that disrupt mainstream narratives about the Midwest and illuminate the living histories, cultures, and future visions of the region. Projects can vary in scope/approach, and address topics including (but not limited to): new forms of resistance and joy, land rights and reparations work, climate change and migration, interventions in the world of athletics, cultural changemakers, community traditions and rituals, and beyond.

In the wake of widespread incidents of police brutality, advocacy for climate justice, and calls to end gun violence, HOMEGROWN: Future Visions explores how filmmakers, culture bearers and communities are redefining cultural identities through place-based storytelling. Projects that address the following questions will receive priority consideration: What does the future of the Midwest look like? What socio-cultural values should be retained? What Midwestern communities would benefit from amplification? Are there movements/people/events that have flourished that the rest of the country should know about?

The ideal candidates for the initiative are emerging filmmakers, storytellers, and journalists committed to unearthing never-before-told narratives rooted in their local community.

  • Project must be short form non-fiction, with a duration of 8-10 minutes
  • Project must be in development, pre-production, or early production
  • Applicant must identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or a person of color
  • Applicant must reside in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin)
  • Applicant must be able to complete the project by August 2022
  • Applicants must hold artistic, budgetary, and editorial control, and must own the copyright of the proposed project
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older by the time of submission
  • Applicants must be willing and able to work collaboratively with Firelight Media, local public media staff, and mentors
  • Only one proposal may be submitted per applicant

Projects NOT Eligible:
  • Feature documentaries, series, or fiction projects
  • Projects in post-production or completed films
  • Projects from currently enrolled students or made in conjunction with coursework
  • Projects or production entities which are non-US-based, owned, or controlled
  • Branded content or promotional projects

If you have any questions or need any accommodations, please email:

Funding for this program is provided by
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