Grantee Profile

Firelight Media

Grants to Firelight Media

  • $1,200,000Active Strategy

    2015 (Duration 2 years, 11 months)

    Journalism & Media

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab is the largest program in the United States aimed specifically at developing the documentary projects and professional skills of emerging documentary filmmakers of color. Each year, 20 independent filmmakers from around the United States at work on their first or second feature-length social issue documentary film are admitted to the Lab. Over the next 12 to 18 months, they receive, free of charge, multidimensional support designed to help them complete and distribute their documentary projects. The work of Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab results in a range of excellently produced, socially relevant nonfiction stories available to the American public, told from diverse perspectives. These documentaries help to engender more empathy about timely topics. Firelight Media is also increasingly experimenting with new models for helping Lab fellows produce and distribute diverse shorter form content to diverse audiences within the public media system.

  • $500,000Active Strategy

    2014 (Duration 3 years, 11 months)

    MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Firelight Media was established in 2000 as a nonprofit film production company dedicated to the creation of social issue documentary films. Over the years, Firelight’s programs expanded through the establishment of a Community Engagement Division to help organizations and communities use documentary film in their work; and the Producers Lab, an intensive mentorship program to help filmmakers of color successfully complete their documentaries. The MACEI grant will be used to (a) rebuild Firelight Media’s cash reserve, and (b) establish an innovation fund through which Firelight and its Producers Lab Fellows can experiment with new storytelling platforms in the digital space.

  • $50,000Active Strategy

    2014 (Inactive Grant)

    Strengthening American Democracy

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Following the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, civil rights groups and legal organizations are engaged in coordinated efforts to raise public awareness of the importance of the Voting Rights Act and to work towards full restoration of its role in preventing disenfranchisement of specific groups of voters. In support of this work, Firelight Media will plan and implement a Community Engagement Campaign for its 2014 documentary "Freedom Summer," which will be paired with current voting rights communication strategies, free community discussion guides, and convening opportunities.

  • $300,000Active Strategy

    2013 (Inactive Grant)

    Journalism & Media

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Firelight Media identifies and supports filmmakers of color developing and producing documentary film projects on important and under-reported social issues. This grant supports the Producers Lab, which provides one-on-one mentoring and professional development to a cohort of filmmakers each year, and The Next Step Fund, which is a competitive fund that provides small grants to filmmakers with works in progress.

  • $200,000Active Strategy

    2011 (Inactive Grant)

    Journalism & Media

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Created and led by Stanley Nelson, a MacArthur Fellow and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Firelight Media is a nonprofit media organization that provides long-term, one-on-one professional development assistance to independent filmmakers of color. It works with producers and directors with promising documentary film ideas to strengthen every aspect of their project, from the creative and artistic side of the filmmaking process to the business aspects of making, completing and distributing a finished film. This grant enables Firelight Media to begin a small grants program for the producers participating in the Producers Lab, as well as other minority filmmakers.

  • $100,000Active Strategy

    2001 (Inactive Grant)

    Journalism & Media

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK — To support a documentary film about the Atlantic slave trade.

The MacArthur Foundation awarded Firelight Media $2,350,000 between 1978 and 2016.

Related News

See All

Firelight Media Names New Documentary Lab Fellows

The MacArthur-supported program provides filmmakers with one-on-one support, funding, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.  More

Nine Nonprofits Recognized for Exceptional Creativity and Effectiveness, Awarded Up to $1 Million Each

From tracking money in U.S. elections to protecting the vulnerable in Mexico to reinvigorating civics education, these extraordinary organizations are tackling some of the most difficult social challenges and achieving outsized impact. More