Artist Development

Promoting unique, independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work.

Filmmaker Labs

  • Directing Lab is an eight-week program for directors prepping independent feature films. The lab runs February through March.
  • Screenwriting Lab is a week-long workshop designed to provide individualized story and professional development for emerging screenwriters with a fiction feature screenplay. This full-time lab takes place in May.
  • Producing Lab is a week-long intensive designed to help creative independent producers develop their skills. This full-time lab takes place in October.
  • Documentary Lab is an in-depth, two-week program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentary films. This full-time lab takes place in April.
  • Episodic Lab is a personalized, five-week workshop where Fellows gain the tools needed to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape. The lab meets 2-3 evenings per week in August.

Filmmaker Labs, like all Film Independent Artist Development programs, are offered at no cost to participants (beyond an application fee and requisite purchase of Film Independent Membership) and are open to all filmmakers, regardless of educational background or previous accomplishment. Film Independent Fellows receive year-round support, including access to the Film Independent Forum, Directors Close-Up and more.


In addition to Labs, Film Independent’s Artist Development programs encompass a wide range of initiatives that help filmmakers push their projects forward, including:

  • Fast Track is a three-day film finance market where select fiction and nonfiction filmmakers pitch to top executives, financiers and distributors.
  • Fiscal Sponsorship opens the door to nonprofit funding for independent filmmakers and media artists, allowing them to seek grants and solicit donations for their project
  • Global Media Makers is an innovative mentoring initiative that connects visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals
  • Grants & Awards are available to help filmmakers advance their current projects and recognize professional accomplishments in independent film
  • Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature diversity program that, for over 25 years, has helped launch the careers of artists from communities underrepresented in film.


With each program, we welcome a new cohort of Fellows into the community of Film Independent alumni whose voices and visions will continue to break ground in filmed entertainment. In 2017, 191 Fellows screened their work at the world’s most prestigious festivals and 24 were nominated for major awards, including Film Independent Spirit Awards, Academy Awards and Emmy Awards. Continuing our commitment to diversity, 88 percent of Film Independent’s Fellows were from communities underrepresented in the film industry, and 58 percent were women.

To learn more about recent Film Independent Fellows and their projects, please visit our online Talent Guide.