Firelight Launches New Fellowship for Diverse Impact Producers

Firelight Media’s Impact Producer Fellowship, which launched in February 2017, is the first-ever training program dedicated to mentoring and training impact producers of color. This yearlong fellowship is rooted in a core belief that by providing social change activists with training on media strategy and impact, and connecting them with diverse storytellers, we can fuel change efforts and catalyze new narratives about vulnerable populations.

The Impact Producer Fellowship reflects a natural progression of our mission to support diverse filmmakers and reach diverse audiences,” explains Firelight founder, Stanley Nelson.

Impact Producers work alongside filmmakers to produce campaigns that maximize the reach and impact of films. These professionals are increasingly sought-after by filmmakers who seek to develop sophisticated campaigns around their social issue documentaries, yet the field lacks the diverse representation needed to ensure the impact strategies resonate with the communities they seek to support. Firelight’s Impact Producer Fellowship aims to intervene in the field by infusing it with professionals who are rooted in diverse communities.

The cohort includes eight organizers and producers from CA, TX, WA, NY, FL, DC and PA. They include a Choctaw/Seminole filmmaker and activist, a staff member at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a former advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Obama Administration, and a filmmaker whose work is inspired by the perseverance of her Mexican immigrant parents.

The inaugural cohort of Impact Producer Fellows bring with them trusted relationships in diverse communities and social justice movements, cultural competency and a proven commitment to social change. We aim to build on those assets and provide them with the skills and networking that will position them as narrative strategists who can strengthen both the nonfiction film community and the movements they serve,” says Sonya Childress, Director of Partnerships and Engagement, who will direct the Impact Producer Fellowship.

The Impact Producer Fellows will participate in three retreats and monthly online workshops that will expose them to filmmakers, distributors, funders and leaders in the field of nonfiction film impact. As part of the Fellowship they will attend film festivals and impact pitch events, and practice their new skills on short films produced by Firelight Media’s Doc Lab Fellows.

Firelight’s Impact Producer Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of the Andrus Family Fund, Embrey Family Foundation and Bertha Foundation.