Attention emerging documentary filmmakers – an opportunity not to be ignored: Today, the Firelight Documentary Lab launches its first ever open call for submissions in order to broaden impact and regional representation. The Documentary Lab is an 18-month fellowship program that supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities working on their first or second feature length documentary film. The Lab provides filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities. The deadline for submissions is July 14th, 2017.

Founded by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith, Firelight is best known for producing award-winning films like “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” “Freedom Riders,” and “The Murder of Emmett Till” to name a few. Firelight tells stories about pivotal moments and movements in American history. Firelight’s flagship programs – the Documentary Lab and Impact Producer Fellowship – support diverse documentary filmmakers and impact producers that advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful films and campaigns.

Ashley Mills' "Unapologetic"
Ashley Mills’ “Unapologetic”

“There are hundreds of talented diverse filmmakers that are creating work that pushes the boundaries of documentary and provides new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time,” says Loira Limbal, Vice President and Documentary Lab Director at Firelight. “Unfortunately, many of them do not have accessible points of entry to the industry. I hope that through this open call, Firelight can better reach those filmmakers, support them, and flood the industry with new stories and new perspectives.”

The Documentary Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse filmmakers, with fellows based all over the country and hailing from Native American/Indigenous, African American, Pacific Islander, Asian American, Latinx, and Arab American communities. More than just a workshop, the fellowship creates an exclusive network of talented storytellers that receive tailored support over a sustained period of time.

Principal funding for the Firelight Documentary Lab has been provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the NY State Council on the Arts, and Genuine Article Pictures.

To find out more about the application process and eligibility requirements please click here.