This article was originally published on May 219, 2020.
Harlem-based prodco Firelight Media, founded by Peabody- and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, has launched an open call for submissions to its 2020 Documentary Lab program.
The flagship 18-month fellowship, now in its 11th year, aims to amplify underrepresented filmmakers working on their debut or sophomore feature-length documentary film by offering ongoing support from project conception to completion.
The artists support program provides tailored mentorship from prominent leaders from across the documentary genre through funding resources, professional development workshops and networking opportunities.
The deadline for all submissions is June 22, 2020.
“COVID-19 has laid many things bare; chief among them are the systemic inequality that continues to mark this society as well as the essential role of art and culture,” said Loira Limbal, SVP of programs at Firelight Media, in a statement. “This moment has deepened our commitment to filmmakers of color and to innovating in the ways that will be necessary to ensure that their voices are not erased during and after this pandemic.”
Firelight has supported works from more than 120 filmmakers of color since the lab’s inception 11 years ago. Past documentarians that have received funding include the award-winning Jackie Olive (Always in Season), PJ Raval (Call Her Ganda), Cristina Ibarra (The Infiltrators), Dawn Porter (Spies of Mississippi), Assia Boundaoui (The Feeling of Being Watched) and Cecilia Aldarondo (Memories of a Penitent Heart).
In 2019, Firelight began offering a grant of US$15,000 for each filmmaker accepted into the Documentary Lab.
Major funding support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Wyncote Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the NY State Council on the Arts.