In 2008 Firelight expanded its mission and created the Documentary Lab, a flagship mentorship program that seeks out and develops emerging diverse filmmakers. The Lab provides filmmakers with one-on-one support, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities.

More than just a workshop, the Documentary Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse producers, creating an exclusive network of talented unique storytellers that receive ongoing support from a project’s conception to its completion.

The Firelight Media Documentary Lab Application will conduct an open call for entries May 6, 2019. The application will close on June 17, 2019.

Please review lab requirements below. Firelight Media has adopted the Documentary Core Application. Along with your written application, you must submit a work sample no less than 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes (for projects in production) or a rough cut (for projects in post production.)

The deadline for submissions is Monday, June 17, 2019 at 11:59PM EST. Under no circumstances will we accept late submissions. The Firelight Documentary Lab supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically under-represented communities who make artful and innovative documentary films that take risks and provide new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time. Firelight will consider all types of documentary projects - historical, investigative, personal, vérité, and experimental

We strongly suggest writing your application in a Word document prior to applying. Please be sure to save your document then copy & paste your responses into the online application.


  • Only the director of the film is eligible to apply and enter the program. We can accept co-directors if they meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Filmmaker must be from a racially and/or ethnically underrepresented community. 
  • The project must be a long-form/feature-length documentary; the lab does not accept short documentaries, series, or fiction projects of any kind.
  • Film must be a work-in-progress and in production or post-production. We do not accept films in pre-production or completed films.
  • Filmmaker must be an emerging documentary filmmaker (working on first or second feature length documentary). 
  • Filmmaker cannot be in school or submit a student film to the lab.
  • Filmmaker must be based in the United States.

You will receive notification of your status within 12-16 weeks of submission. If you are among a small group of finalists who advance through a series of peer reviews, you may be asked for additional information or project updates. Results will be shared September 2019.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact:

Firelight Media