Firelight Media Documentary Lab Announces Open Call For 2019 Submissions From Underrepresented Communities

Firelight Media

EXCLUSIVE: Firelight Media has begun taking submissions for 10th annual Documentary Lab. Launched in 2009 by Firelight co-founder Stanley Nelson, it’s an 18-month fellowship supporting filmmakers of color with mentorship from prominent non-fiction leaders, film funding resources, professional development workshops and networking opportunities.

Hopefuls have until June 17 to apply.

“A lot has changed since we first started the Documentary Lab 10 years ago,” Firelight VP and Documentary Lab director Loira Limbal said. “Documentaries have become popular, the number of distribution platforms have doubled, and almost everyone agrees that we are experiencing the golden age of documentaries. Yet, there are still structural barriers for filmmakers of color to enter into the field. Ten years later we remain steadfast in our belief in the importance of people of color being able to tell their own stories.”

The Documentary Lab nurtures an inclusive network of talented, unique filmmakers of color to receive ongoing support from conception to completion. Firelight Media also offers the Next Step Media Fund, a grant supporting fellows in the final phase of production with up to $25,000 towards necessary travel, shooting, editing and more.

Two of the Documentary Lab’s alum had films make their world premieres at Sundance in January: Jeffrey Palmer’s Words from a Bear and Jackie Olive’s Always in Season, which won the Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency. Stanley Nelson also debuted Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool there, his 10th feature to premiere at the fest a record for a documentarian. Doc Lab fellow Yu Gu premiered her documentary feature A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem at Tribeca last month.

The Documentary Lab Open Call is an exciting time for us at Firelight,” Limbal said, “because it puts us in direct contact with hundreds of emerging filmmakers of color from all over the U.S. telling nuanced and complex stories informed by their own lived experiences.”

Apllications can be submitted here.

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