Brave New Films Fellows Program

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Now this is what I’ve been talking about! A paid training program with health and dental insurance and vacation time for aspiring filmmakers from marginalized and underrepresented communities. By underrepresented, I mean both as the people starring in films and also as the people making the films.

If you recall from the critique I did of “Best Kept Secret” with Leroy Moore and Jackie Pilgrim, we talked about problems that can happen when a white filmmaker comes into a Black community and “helps them out” by “sharing their story.” In documentary, it can be done well and can be done right. But that relies on true partnership and collaboration, on seeing the people in the community as the ultimate experts of their own lives and circumstances, and quite frankly, on giving paid positions to people in that community instead of only paying outsiders who come in, film, and leave.

Being in a documentary or any kind of film is work, is labor, should be valued. And instead of white people always believing that because of our intense interest and passion for a certain subject matter that perhaps we’re not always the perfect person to tell or share a story. Sometimes, an insider’s perspective will bring richer stories to the public in a more nuanced, respectful, and meaningful way than we can ever create. Not because we’re not good at filmmaking. But because we have to start viewing other people as good at filmmaking too. In the case of “Best Kept Secret,” the filmmakers also had no intimate or in-depth knowledge of autism, autistic experiences , or special education, though the film documents a self-contained special ed classroom of disabled young men of color. This just brings another layer of potentially reinforcing the idea that we love to hear from Black, Brown, Indigenous, disabled, and other “other” communities as long as the people on top are in charge of collecting and editing the stories.

And for fiction film, this also means maybe not having so many guilty, helpful white people making films about healing racial divides or moving forward from racism.

So check out the Brave New Films Fellowship program. Yay! Details below are all from their website: . Jump down to the bottom of this post for all the details about how and where to apply for the fellowship in Culver City, California.

Our organization

Brave New Films champions social justice issues by using media to inspire, empower, motivate, engage and teach civic participation that makes a difference.  Our goal is to support the active civic engagement of an informed citizenry by calling attention to important issues through non-partisan social media production and our ingenious multi-platform distribution network.

About the fellowship

Recent media industry reports show a lack of opportunities at every level and in every job sector in traditional media, news production and distribution for people from racially diverse backgrounds and marginalized communites.  Their voices and concerns are often marginalized or ignored in traditional media narratives.  Brave New Films is looking to provoke a shift in this state through a unique fellowship opportunity.

The Brave New Fellows Program envisions a world in which visual storytellers from all racial and economic groups have a voice and a place in creating media that has an impact.  The program seeks to break down the systemic barriers that limit opportunities for people of color from marginalized communities by empowering fellows with tools and training to become stronger activists and versatile advocates for social justice.

In January 2016 we will bring on five individuals to do a yearlong, paid fellowship.  The Brave New Fellows Program seeks passionate, driven, and creative people who have a desire to use storytelling as a means to positively impact the world.  Fellows will benefit from hands-on experience in filmmaking and advocacy by spending a period of time in each of Brave New Films’ departments (short films, post production, campaigns/research and social media).   Through the year, fellows will build up a set of practical skills that will prepare them for work.

Also during the year, fellows will participate in seminars and trainings on topics such as campaigns, social media platforms, script writing, studio production, resume writing and job interview skills.

As compensation, each fellow will be provided with visa/immigration assistance if coming from overseas, a $750/week stipend for twelve months, medical and dental insurance, as well as holiday and hiatus.  The fellows will also participate in placement training and be set up for interviews in local and national organizations.

The ideal candidate will:

  • have experience with storytelling and social justice activism
  • have a strong interest in using visual media as an advocacy tool
  • demonstrate solid writing and communication skills
  • have basic skills in Adobe Premiere, or an equivalent editing software,  Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office
  • be familiar with social media (Facebook and You-Tube)
  • be a quick learner

Application Process

To apply, please complete the online application.  The application includes personal stories that you can attach to the application in written form or as short videos.  You must also submit two recommendations.  You can send your recommenders the following link: to complete the form online. 

Both the application and the recommendation form are available in PDF format.  If you prefer to complete the forms offline, please contact us at and we will send these to you.   You can send your completed forms as attachments to with your name in the subject line.  Or, you can send them via postal service to Brave New Films – ATTN:  Fellowship, 10510 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA  90232.

Application materials must be received by Tuesday, September 15th.

Share this Brave New Films Fellowship notice with everyone, please!