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Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab

A photo on set of the 2022 BlackStar Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab. It shows the cast in the middle of scene, a young boy is holding a guitar. The director kneels beside him, presumably providing direction. There is a crew member in the foreground with a camera.

A year-long fellowship with BlackStar for Black, Brown, and Indigenous filmmakers in Philadelphia.

BlackStar is proud to present the 2025 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab, an opportunity designed to uplift emerging and mid-career artists in the Greater Philadelphia area. BlackStar’s Filmmaker Lab will support four projects by Black, Brown and Indigenous filmmakers with mentorship, funding and critical feedback over the course of a year-long program. BlackStar will provide $50,000 in production funds and act as an executive producer on each short film created during the Lab. Lab films will later premiere at the BlackStar Film Festival in 2025.

Selected directors will receive mentorship throughout the fellowship including feedback on works-in-progress, advice on working with crew and career guidance from a working director. The fellowship supports short narrative, experimental or hybrid projects.

The application for the 2025 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab will close at 11:59PM on Thursday, May 30, 2024.


Candidates must live in the Greater Philadelphia area (this includes the following counties: Burlington County, Gloucester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Camden County, and Montgomery County)

The Lab is not open to students currently pursuing an art or film degree, organizations, or corporations.

Candidates should identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous or as a Person of Color (BIPOC).

The Lab is open to adults at least 18 years of age.

Applicants must be available for Orientation Weekend, currently set for September 21-22, 2024.

The BlackStar Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab is presented with lead support from the William Penn Foundation. Additional support is provided by Independence Public Media Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Gucci Changemakers Fund and Expressway Cinema Rentals.

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How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?

All applicants will be notified via email no later than July 1, 2024.
We will use the contact info you provide in your application to correspond with you. Please make sure [email protected] is cleared in your spam filter!

When and where does this take place?

The Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab will take place over the course of 12 months, beginning in fall 2024. Selected fellows will receive further details about the format closer to the start of the Lab.

Is there a cost associated with the application?

No, there is no application fee for the Lab.

I don’t live in the Philadelphia area. Can I still apply?

Eligible candidates must live in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Can I submit multiple projects?

No, you may only submit one project to the Lab.

Do I need to have a producer attached to the project in order to apply to the Lab?

No, but it is recommended that you have a producer attached to your project. We can provide support with the search of a producer, but we will not find a producer for your project.

If I am not selected for the Lab, can I receive feedback on my submission?

Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions and capacity of our staff, we are not able to offer feedback on individual applications.

Can my project go into production before attending the Lab?

Unfortunately, no. We consider the timing of your fellowship to be a crucial component for selection. The Lab is designed, in part, to bring your project from script to screen.

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A still from Tonight, We Eat Flowers. It shows the bodies of two people standing behind a vase of flowers. The woman is reaching in to grab one.

Tonight, We Eat Flowers (2022)

Dir. by Bettina Escauriza

A still from The Love Machine shows a young Black girl laying down. There is a soft red glow on her face.

The Love Machine (2022)

Dir. by Jasmine Lynea

A black-and-white still from Big Three shows a group of three Black singers a recording studio.

Big Three (2022)

Dir. by Julian Turner

A still from Ourika! shows a young Black girl laying in a bed. Her hair is long and flowing across the mattress.

Ourika! (2022)

Dir. by Xenia Matthews

A still from The Freedom to Fall Apart shows two Black men in a mansion-like setting. They are dressed in suits. One is wearing a white mask. The other, who is not wearing one, is looking up a staircase with a curious expression.

The Freedom to Fall Apart (2023)

Dir. by David Gaines Prod. by Elizah Turner

A still from All That's Left shows a Black woman dressed in a soft purple silk gown and a wine glass sitting on some kind of display.

All That's Left (2023)

Dir. by Simone Holland Prod. by Stephanie Malson

A still from An Endoscopy shows a close-up of a man with an old film camera filming the profile of a woman.

An Endoscopy (2023)

Dir. by Zardosht Afshari Prod. by Aaron Brokenbough Jr.