The Firelight Media announced today a national open call for submissions for its Documentary Lab program. The fellowship supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities working on their first or second feature-length documentary film.

In an effort to bring more inclusion and diversity to the filmmaking industry, the Documentary Lab is an 18-month program that provides filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities.

“There are hundreds of talented, diverse filmmakers out there creating work that pushes the boundaries of documentary. These voices are critical to providing new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time,” says Loira Limbal, Vice President and Documentary Lab Director at Firelight Media. “Many of them, however, do not have accessible points of entry to the film industry. Through this open call, Firelight can better reach those filmmakers, support them, and flood the industry with new stories and fresh perspectives.”

From African American to Asian American to Native American to Latinx communities, the Lab prides itself on representing diverse filmmakers and voices. A trio of Documentary Lab fellows will premiere their feature-length docs this month at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. This includes Assia Boundaoui’s The Feeling of Being Watched which gives an insider’s look at a Muslim American community that suspects it’s been under FBI surveillance since the 1990s. PJ Raval will debut his documentary Call Her Ganda, which follows investigates the murder of a Filipina transwoman. In Mr. Soul!, director Melissa Haizlip’s spotlights the groundbreaking ’60s talk show Soul! hosted by Ellis Haizlip.

To find out more about the application process and eligibility requirements for the Documentary Lab please visit firelightmedia.tv.