Artist Development

Film Independent Artist Development promotes unique, independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work.

Filmmaker Labs

  • Directing Lab, an eight-week program for directors prepping independent feature films. The lab runs in Los Angeles in February and March.
  • Screenwriting Lab, an intensive five-week workshop designed to facilitate each writer’s unique voice through the development of a single feature project. The lab meets two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles beginning in late April.
  • Producing Lab, an in-depth, five-week program that helps filmmakers develop valuable skills as creative, independent producers. The lab takes place every October in Los Angeles.
  • Documentary Lab, an intensive five-week program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentary films. The lab meets in Los Angeles beginning in mid-March.
  • Episodic Lab, a personalized five-week workshop where Fellows will gain the tools needed to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape. The lab meets in Los Angeles 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, a yearly film financing market with top executives, financiers, distributors and other industry leaders
  • 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, an innovative mentoring initiative that connects visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals
  • Grants & Awards, helping filmmakers advance their current projects and recognize professional accomplishments in independent film
  • Project Involve, Film Independent’s signature diversity program, which for 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.