Firelight Media Announces Open Call for the William Greaves Research & Development Fund

The Fund, now in its fifth year, supports mid-career documentary filmmakers from across the U.S. and Latin America.

Firelight Media
2 min readJun 6, 2024
A promotional image for the William Greaves R&D open call, featuring an image of William Greaves with a camera on his shoulder in an urban park surrounded by a film crew.

Firelight Media, the premier destination for nonfiction cinema by and about communities of color, has announced the open call for the fifth cycle of its William Greaves Research & Development Fund for mid-career filmmakers of color.

The William Greaves Research & Development Fund is targeted toward filmmakers based in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia, with a particular interest in those who identify as being Indigenous and/or of African descent. The Research & Development Fund comprises grants ranging up to $40,000 each to support research and development on a feature-length nonfiction film. Once granted, the funds may be used for research and to develop film treatments, presentation decks, sizzle reels, and other materials necessary for fundraising.

Past recipients of the Research & Development Fund include filmmakers Giselle Bailey, Everlane Moraes, S. Leo Chiang, Ángela Carabalí, the late Lourdes Portillo, and Juan Carlos Dávila Santiago, among others. Dávila Santiago’s film Zenón, first supported through this R&D Fund, has since received co-production funding through PBS and Firelight Media’s William Greaves Production Fund and recently received $150,000 in funding through Black Public Media’s PitchBLACK Awards.

The William Greaves Research & Development Fund and the PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund, which was established in 2022, are designed to address the persistent structural challenges many filmmakers of color face after producing their first films so that they can remain in the field. The Funds are named in honor of William Greaves, the longtime mentor of Firelight Media’s Co-Founder Stanley Nelson. Greaves’ legacy in the documentary field includes producing the groundbreaking television newsmagazine Black Journal along with 200-plus documentaries throughout his 60-year career. The William Greaves R&D Fund is supported by institutions including the Perspective Fund, the Hearthland Foundation, and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.

The application for the William Greaves Research & Development Fund is open now through July 8, 2024, and available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

For information about the William Greaves Research & Development Fund, click here.

About Firelight Media

Firelight Media is a premier destination for nonfiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight Media produces documentary films, supports filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. Firelight Media’s programs include the Documentary Lab, an 18-month fellowship that supports emerging, underrepresented filmmakers; Groundwork Regional Lab, which supports filmmakers in the American South, midwest, and U.S. Territories; and the William Greaves Funds for mid-career filmmakers. Firelight Media also produces digital short films, including the forthcoming season three of In the Making with PBS American Masters and HOMEGROWN: A Part Of/Apart From with PBS.



Firelight Media

Firelight Media is a nonprofit organization that supports, resources, and advocates on behalf of documentary filmmakers of color.