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Firelight Media uses the Documentary Core Application. Along with your written application, you must submit a work sample (for projects in Production) or a rough cut (for projects in Post-Production). Your work sample or rough cut must be no less than 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes in duration.

The deadline for submissions is June 13, 2022 at 11:59PM ET. Under no circumstances will we accept late submissions. The Firelight Documentary Lab supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically under-represented communities in the United States 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 and 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. If you’re applying with your co-director, please indicate that in your application. We cannot accept more than 2 directors per project.
  • Filmmaker must be from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community and be residing in the United States, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories.
  • 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. We accept films from early production through production or post-production. We do not accept films in pre-production or completed films.
  • Filmmaker must be an emerging documentary filmmaker (working on their first or second feature length documentary).
  • Filmmaker cannot submit a student film to the lab.

Firelight Media accepts applications from filmmakers who identify as people of color based in the United States regardless of their citizenship status. At the moment, we do not accept filmmakers who are based internationally for this program.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact: doclab@firelightmedia.org

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.