Firelight Media Announces Open Calls for the William Greaves Funds

The Funds, which include the newly launched PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund, support mid-career filmmakers from diverse communities.

Firelight Media, the premier destination for nonfiction cinema by and about communities of color, has announced two open calls for its William Greaves Funds for mid-career filmmakers of color: the William Greaves Research & Development Fund and the newly established PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund.

The PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund, first announced by PBS in January and to be led by Monika Navarro, senior director of Artist Programs, will resource documentary productions by mid-career filmmakers from diverse communities in the United States that are intended for distribution on PBS through finishing funds or co-production funding. In order to be eligible for the PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund, filmmakers must self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or a person of color (BIPOC) and be a resident of the United States or a U.S. territory. For the purpose of this fund, mid-career is defined as having previously served as producer, director, and/or co-director, with a minimum of two hours of completed and distributed film(s) and a minimum of seven years of filmmaking experience. Additionally, the filmmaker must own the copyright, maintain editorial control, and have secured a minimum of 20% of the total project budget in order to be eligible for this new Fund.

The William Greaves Research & Development Fund (previously known as the William Greaves Fund), now in its third year, 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 of Indigenous and/or of African descent. The Research & Development Fund will comprise 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. The Research & Development Fund, which is supported by institutions including the Perspective Fund, the Hearthland Foundation, and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, will also include a basic care stipend that can be put toward any essential need grantees have, from healthcare and childcare costs to any other necessary resources which Firelight Media sees as fundamental to producing creative work.

“Career sustainability is a major challenge for mid-career filmmakers of color, so Firelight Media is thrilled to be expanding our William Greaves Funds to include a new Production Fund in partnership with PBS,” said Marcia Smith, president of Firelight Media. “I’m doubly pleased that the films supported by the PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund will be distributed via PBS, enabling them to reach the broad and diverse audience that public media serves.”

“PBS’s deep commitment to diverse storytelling is made possible by the storytellers whose unique perspectives reflect the full range of the American experience,” said Sylvia Bugg, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “We are pleased that these two William Greaves funds offer resources for research, development and production and will help to support mid-career filmmakers from underrepresented communities.”

Both William Greaves Funds 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 applications for both of the William Greaves Funds are open from July 5, 2022, to August 8, 2022.

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

For information about the PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund, click here.

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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 filmmakers of color; Groundwork Regional Lab, which supports filmmakers in the American south, midwest, and U.S.-controlled Territories; and the William Greaves Research and Development Fund for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. Firelight Media also produces digital short films, including the forthcoming collection HOMEGROWN: Future Visions.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV — including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.



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Firelight Media

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Firelight Media produces documentary films, supports nonfiction filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. We’re #changingthestory.