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Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab Shadow Program

Two people stand behind a camera, looking on at a scene they are presumably recording. They both wear face masks though the person in front, who is Black, has pulled their face mask down to smile at what they are looking at to the right off-screen. The photo is in black and white.

A shadowing opportunity for Black, Brown, and Indigenous filmmakers in Philadelphia to learn on-set with BlackStar.


BlackStar is proud to present this opportunity as part of our second annual Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab.

BlackStar’s Shadow Program will support Black, Brown and Indigenous (BIPOC) filmmakers by offering shadowing opportunities on the films being created in this year’s Lab. These shadowing placements will give Philadelphia-based BIPOC filmmakers the chance to observe crews and gain further professional experience. Selected participants will work on set as a production assistant and have the opportunity to observe a department head and related crew member over a multi-day shoot. This is an invaluable experience to gain insights about the inner workings of a film set and to make connections with professionals in the industry.

The positions will vary based on the needs of the production. No positions are guaranteed, but shadows may get a chance to observe crew members in the following departments: art, camera, director, electric/grip, hair and makeup, sound, production, and wardrobe. Principal photography for the films is set for Spring 2022 in the Greater Philadelphia area. The program is open to filmmakers of all levels. No prior experience is necessary.

The application for the 2023 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab Shadow Program can be accessed here from January 10-30, 2023. We will not accept or review any applications received after the stated deadline.

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

FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions? FAQs Questions?

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

No. Eligible candidates must live in the Greater Philadelphia area.

I have not made a film yet. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes! No prior filmmaking experience is necessary.

Can I select the crew member that I would like to shadow?

No. We will do our best to place you based on your interests indicated in the application, but we cannot guarantee placement in any particular department.

When and where does this take place?

Principal photography for the Lab films is set for late February to early April 2023 in the Greater Philadelphia area. We are moving forward with an in-person production in accordance with safety guidelines as outlined by the CDC. Selected shadows will receive further details about the dates and locations closer to the shoot.

How long will I be expected to be on set?

If you’re selected we will provide more specific information about the nature of the shoot. Typical shoot dates run approximately 12 hours.

Can I work on more than one set?

If you’re selected we only guarantee placement on one film set. Requests to work on additional sets will be considered if capacity allows.

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

All applicants will be notified via email at the contact information provided on their application no later than February 14, 2023. Please add [email protected] to your contacts so it doesn’t get filtered into spam!

Will shadows be paid?

Yes. Shadows will be compensated $100/day for their time on set. Shadows will be responsible for their own travel to and from set.