Firelight Media Documentary Lab has chosen 11 fellows representing 10 documentary projects as part of its flagship mentorship program.
The program – formerly named the Producer’s Lab – aims to support a range of emerging filmmakers and their feature projects by providing directors with one-on-one help, funding and professional development workshops in addition to networking opportunities for ongoing support beyond their fellowship term.
“All of the stories they are working on illustrate what Firelight is about – highlighting people who are often invisible, challenging mainstream narratives, and ultimately changing the story about the lives of the diverse communities that we live in and are a part of,” said Loira Limbal, VP at Firelight and Documentary Lab director, in a statement.
This year’s Documentary Lab fellows and their feature-length projects include Adele Pham’s (pictured, left) #NailedIt: Vietnamese & the Nail Industry, about the origins of the Vietnamese nail salon industry and its influence on the US$8 billion nail economy; Assia Boundaoui’s (right) The Feeling of Being Watched, chronicling the surveillance of one American neighborhood; Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan’s MacArthur Documentary Grant-awarded The Interpreter, following Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who served with U.S. military forces; Jacqueline Olive’s Always In Season, which explores the lingering effects of lynching on relatives of both the perpetrator and victim; and Jennifer Brea’s Canary In A Coal Mine, which documents the director’s personal battle through psychosomatic illness, along with four other patients.
Remaining fellows include Kathy Huang’s A Guangzhou Love Story, focused on the challenges of Afro-Chinese couples looking to get married in the face of racism and xenophobic policies; PJ Raval‘s Justice for Jennifer, about a transgendered Filipina woman found dead in a motel room and her alleged murderer; Ray Santisteban’s Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition, on Chicago’s ethnic coalition in the 1960s that laid the groundwork for social movements in the U.S.; Vaishali Sinha’s Ask the Sexpert, on a popular Indian sex columnist; and Yu Gu’s A Woman’s Work, following three former NFL cheerleaders and their class-action lawsuit against their former teams.