NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios have announced the launch of Original Voices, a new fellowship program given to six diverse documentary filmmakers to support feature-length non-fiction films that shine a spotlight on social issues and identities.
The grants total US$270,000 with each filmmaker awarded $45,000 to fund original docs across all production stages.
The program centers on emerging and established documentarians with a focus on Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous and tribal populations, LGBTQ+, women or people with disabilities. NBC News Studios has identified 50 U.S based filmmakers to apply for the inaugural fellowship. Of these, only six will be awarded the funding.
The chosen fellows will also have access to NBC News Studios resources, including archival research, individually tailored yearlong mentorship, story and edit consultations, festival and distribution strategy discussions, and marketing and publicity guidance. Fellows will also be given the opportunity to connect with NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo journalists and executives.
The three-member jury for the inaugural fellowship is comprised of some of today’s most critically acclaimed documentary filmmakers, including Dawn Porter (The Way I See It and John Lewis: Good Trouble), Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation, In the Same Breath) and Cristina Costantini (Mucho Mucho Amor).
Original Voices comes out of NBCU Academy, a journalism training and development initiative from NBCUniversal’s News Group, which launched in January in response to parent company Comcast’s commitment to invest $100 million to combat racism in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
NBCU Academy offers university and community college students scholarships, education, on-campus training, online programming, funding for accredited journalism programs and access to journalists from NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo.
Currently, NBCU Academy is partnered with 17 academic universities, community colleges and institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Winners of the Original Voices program will be announced at the end of February 2021.