Directing Lab

An intensive, five-week program for directors who are prepping their independent feature films

Under the guidance of established industry professionals who serve as Creative Advisors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions, and work with an acting coach to select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop in the Lab. This five-week program, taking place April–May, provides an important opportunity to work with actors and concludes with an industry pitch event at the end of the program.

For more information on the application deadline please visit our applications page.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Directing Lab will not take place the spring of 2021 as previously scheduled. More than any other Lab that we offer, Directing Lab is at its most successful and valuable when it is conducted in person. We look forward to resuming the Lab when gathering in a traditional group setting is more feasible.

Who Can Apply?

The Directing Lab is open to any director who is attached to an unproduced, feature-length narrative film with an eye toward production. Writer-directors are welcome to apply, as are directing teams, who may submit a single application. International applicants are welcome to apply. At this time, documentary, short film and television projects are not eligible to apply.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following materials for consideration:

  • A cover letter addressing your interest in the program and what you hope to gain by participating in the Directing Lab
  • An artistic statement describing your vision for your film
  • A complete feature-length screenplay
  • A logline and synopsis
  • Bios of attached key cast and crew
  • Project status and history
  • A link to previously directed work

Selection Criteria

Film Independent is looking for talented filmmakers attached to feature-length narrative film projects that are compelling, original and demonstrate a unique vision. We are open to first-time directors, as well as those with previous directing experience. A work sample is required in order to be considered for the program. For filmmakers with no previous experience, the sample does not need to be from a completed work with high production value. The purpose of the sample is to give the selection committee a sense of your potential as a visual storyteller and ability to work with actors.

Application Fee

The Fine Print

Beyond the application fee, there is no cost or tuition to participate in any of Film Independent’s Artist Development programs.

Film Independent Membership is not required when applying to Artist Development Labs. However, all participants accepted into the Labs are required to join Film Independent at the standard annual General Membership rate of $95.

Applicants will be notified three to four weeks prior to the start of the program.

Those applicants who are invited to participate in the program should plan to be in Los Angeles for the eight-week duration of the Lab. Film Independent is unable to subsidize any travel, lodging and/or visa expenses for any participants attending from outside of Los Angeles. Participants are expected to attend all sessions in person.

For more information, please email:

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