Firelight Media Documentary Lab Announces National Open Call for 2024

Firelight Media
2 min readApr 1, 2024

The Organization’s Flagship Artist Support Program Is Now In Its Fourteenth Year

A promotional image for Firelight Media’ Documentary Lab Open Call with a link to the application at

Firelight Media, the non-profit organization co-founded by filmmaker Stanley Nelson as the premier destination for nonfiction cinema by and about communities of color, today announced the 2024 Open Call for submissions to its Documentary Lab, now in its 14th year. The Documentary Lab, Firelight Media’s longest-running artist program, is an 18-month fellowship designed to nurture underrepresented nonfiction storytellers working on their first or second feature film.

The Documentary Lab seeks applicants who are making artful and innovative documentary films that focus on underrepresented communities and provide new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time. Firelight Media will consider all types of long-form documentary projects — historical, investigative, personal, vérité, and experimental. The deadline for all submissions is May 13, 2024.

Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab provides holistic support for fellows’ projects and careers through professional development retreats, customized mentorship, and $25,000 project grants. Throughout the Lab, filmmakers build a network within the documentary ecosystem, connecting with other fellows, alumni, and dedicated mentors and forging industry relationships across the documentary field. More than just a workshop, the Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse filmmakers, creating a network of talented, unique storytellers who receive ongoing support from a project’s conception to its completion.

Since its inception in 2009, Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab has supported the voices and careers of over 100 filmmakers, including acclaimed documentary directors Dawn Porter, Yoruba Richen, Bao Nguyen, Christine Turner, P.J. Raval, and Ivan MacDonald and Ivy MacDonald, among many others.

Support for Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Surdna Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Park Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the Abrams Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation.

To learn more about the Documentary Lab application process and eligibility requirements, please visit

About Firelight Media

Firelight Media is a premier destination for non-fiction 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 emerging filmmakers in the American South, midwest, and U.S. territories; and the William Greaves Research & Development Fund, for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities, among others. Firelight Media also produces digital short film series, including the forthcoming season three of In the Making, with PBS American Masters, and a collection of regional short films, 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.