Firelight Media is the 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 flagship 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. Territories; and the William Greaves Fund for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers, among others. Firelight Media also produces digital short film series, including In the Making with PBS American Masters and Homegrown, a regional short films initiative.

Our Programs

The following programs offer periodic open calls for applications via Submittable. For a complete list of Firelight Media’s programs, visit

Documentary Lab

Firelight Media’s flagship Documentary Lab seeks out and develops emerging filmmakers of color who make artful and innovative nonfiction films. The 18-month Documentary Lab provides filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, as well as funding, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities. The Open Call for the 2022 Documentary Lab has ended.

William Greaves Research & Development Fund

The William Greaves Research and Development Fund resources talented, mid-career nonfiction storytellers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the United States, as well as filmmakers from Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia with a particular interest in those who identify as being of Indigenous and/or of African descent. The Open Call dates for the 2022 William Greaves Research & Development Fund are Tuesday, July 5, 2022 through Monday, August 8, 2022.

PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund

The PBS/Firelight William Greaves Production Fund 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. The Open Call dates for the 2022 PBS/Firelight Production Fund are Tuesday, July 5, 2022 through Monday, August 8, 2022.

Thank you for applying to Firelight’s William Greaves R&D Fund! We use the Documentary Core Application. (To learn more, see here:  We skip part 2 for this Fund but the latter part of this application (below) has a few additional questions.

The application opens July 5, 2022 and closes August 8, 2022, with an anticipated announcement in late November and disbursement in early January 2023.

  • We will consider projects that address a range of themes and issues.
  • We will consider projects with a range of aesthetic approaches (verité, essay, experimental, investigative, personal, historical, etc.)
  • We will consider projects that are ambitious or narrowly focused.
  • We will consider submissions from filmmakers based in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Brazil.

We value and will consider submissions from filmmakers of all refugee and immigration statuses, recognizing that migration flows are necessitated by the global challenges and forces we seek to overcome.

We take notice when projects are socially relevant, formally innovative, address or engage underrepresented issues or communities, and are accountable to the impacted communities their films represent.


  • Filmmakers must self-identify as being from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community in the United States or living and working in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, and/or Brazil
  • Must be a mid-career* Director**
  • Must be for a feature length documentary film in the pre-production phase

* Our starting point is to define a mid-career filmmaker as someone with an established track record or substantial body of nonfiction cinema works, including but not limited to the completion of 2 feature length documentaries to date and 7-25 years of experience. But given the variable backgrounds filmmakers often have, particularly when facing structural barriers in the industry, we will consider proposals that necessitate a different definition of “mid-career.” We expect a clear articulation of why your career trajectory positions you as mid-career if you do not fit this definition.

**Producers applying on behalf of a Director should apply in collaboration with the Director. Please note the funds will go towards the Director and not the Producer. Collectives that apply should note that the majority of their collective should identify as being from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community and should be majority mid-career as per the definition above.

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