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Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab

Director Jasmine Lynea reviews some documents on set of a film production, the lighting is purple and red.

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

BlackStar is proud to present the 2023 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 through making equipment, space, crew, mentorship, funding and critical feedback available over the course of a 12-month program. BlackStar will act as an executive producer on the short films created during the Lab and premiere the films at BlackStar Film Festival in 2023.

This year, four directors and four producers will be selected to receive year-round mentorship as part of the Lab, including feedback on works-in-progress, and advice on working with below-the-line crew. The program is open to emerging and mid-career filmmakers seeking to create short narrative, experimental or hybrid projects in any genre.

Read about our 2023 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab fellows here.

Learn about and apply to our Lab Shadow Program here.


Candidates must live in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Projects must be filmed in the Greater Philadelphia area.

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 November 19-20, 2022.

The BlackStar Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab is presented by Xfinity with additional support by All Ages Productions, William Penn Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Gucci Changemakers Fund, Expressway Cinema Rentals and Seven Knots Films & Media.

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When and where does this take place?

The Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab will take place over the course of 12 months, beginning in late fall 2022. While we plan to gather participants in person throughout the fellowship, BlackStar will follow safety protocols of the time as recommended by the CDC. 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 apply to the directing fellowship and producing fellowship?

There is a limit of one submission per applicant. Applicants must choose one track.

Can I submit multiple projects?

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

I have never produced a film before. Can I still apply to the producing fellowship?

Yes. You will be required to submit work samples which must include at least one film project. However, it is not required for producing applicants to have previous producing experience. For example, if you are credited as a Production Assistant on a work, you are welcome to include that project as your qualifying film work sample.

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 November 11, 2022.
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!

I have a producer already attached to my film. Can I apply to the directing fellowship with the producer attached?

No. Producers will be chosen through the producing fellowship application pool by the BlackStar Programs team. If you have a producer in mind, we encourage them to apply for the fellowship.