The JBFC is vaccinated only for ALL screenings and events. Masks required except while at your seat. Details here.

Creative Culture Fellowship Application Guidelines

Note: The application for Fall 2021 Creative Culture Fellowships is now closed. Applicants will be notified of their application status by mid-August. We will begin accepting applications for Spring 2022 fellowships this fall. 

Creative Culture provides 10-month long fellowship experiences for emerging filmmakers to produce short film projects in a collaborative community. During the fellowship term, fellows participate in weekly sessions at the JBFC’s Media Arts Lab with a cohort of peers and receive access to mentorship, stipend support, production equipment, post-production facilities and software, and the JBFC’s industry network.


Creative Culture fellowships are open to emerging filmmakers who show a strong interest in pursuing a career in film/media arts. Artists working in all film genres (animation, documentary, narrative) are encouraged to apply. All applicants will be considered for any and all of the fellowships for which they are eligible. 

The following fellowships are being offered this application round: 

  • The Valentine and Clark Emerging Artist Fellowship is open to all emerging filmmakers who demonstrate a need for the resources and support of the fellowship at the present moment in their creative development. This fellowship gives preference to applicants under the age of 30.
  • The Silver Sun Diverse Voices Fellowship is open to all filmmakers from underrepresented communities who demonstrate a strong interest in pursuing a career in the film/media arts. This fellowship encourages community engagement and aims to foster thoughtful media creation.
  • The Gary Winick Visionary Narrative Fellowship is open to all filmmakers working in the scripted space. This fellowship encourages experimentation and innovation in storytelling.


In order to participate in the program, fellows must be willing and able to attend weekly meetings at the JBFC Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville, NY (45 minutes north of New York City, accessible via train, bus, or car) throughout both semesters of the fellowship term. It is not possible to participate in the fellowship program remotely.

With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently planning for in-person activities throughout the semester. Our staff will continue to closely monitor the local public health situation and we will continue to follow all guidelines mandated by federal, state, and local officials and adapt fellowship activities as needed.


The following materials should be provided in the online application form:

  • Artist Statement: A written description of the applicant’s work that articulates the filmmaker’s artistic voice, why they tell the stories they tell through film, and the filmmaker’s connection to the stories they tell in their work. 
  • Statement of Purpose: A written explanation of how the Creative Culture Fellowship Program would meaningfully support the applicant at this stage in their career.
  • Project Proposal: A written description of the proposed short film project, including concept/plot outline, a discussion of topics/themes the project engages, a detailed plan for the project, and a rough timeline to completion during the first semester of the fellowship (Sept. 2021-Jan. 2022). The proposal should also indicate the current status of the project, highlighting available materials (e.g. script or plot treatment), any casting or crew decisions to date, and any other project milestones met thus far. 
  • Up to three (3) Work Samples: Ideal work samples demonstrate the applicant’s voice and aesthetic vision, such as short films, student film exercises, or other short media that the applicant has previously directed and/or contributed to artistically in a significant way (i.e. served as producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, etc.). A reel may be provided as one of the work samples. 
  • Two (2) Professional References
  • C.V./Resumé
  • Supplemental Materials (Optional): Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide additional materials that provide deeper context and insight into the proposed project, whenever available. Helpful supplemental materials include script drafts, pitch decks, plot treatments, etc. 


Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Artistic merit: The materials in a successful application will demonstrate the applicant’s creative track record and creative potential, including showcasing a clear artistic approach and the applicant’s voice as a filmmaker. The proposed project should also align with the range and diversity of independent and documentary films presented at the Jacob Burns Film Center. 
  • Feasibility of the proposed project: A successful application will demonstrate that the scale and scope of the proposed short film project can be reasonably completed within the relevant semester, and clearly demonstrates thoughtful preparation and plans to execute the project within that timeline. 
  • Applicant’s potential fit as a participant in a community of filmmakers: A successful application will demonstrate that the applicant is prepared and eager to participate and collaborate in a close-knit, inclusive, and diverse community of peers. 
  • Applicant’s potential to benefit from the fellowship: A successful application will demonstrate that the applicant is at a crucial moment in their creative and professional development, poised to benefit from and grow through participation in the fellowship program. 


The deadline to apply for Fall 2021 Creative Culture fellowships was June 14, 2021. Candidates will be notified of their application status by mid-August. Four fellowships will be awarded with a tentative start date of September 2021. 


Many answers to frequently asked questions are available on our FAQ page. Any other questions or inquiries regarding the fellowship program can be directed to Creative Culture program staff at

Email Sign Up

Get updates on screenings at the JBFC Theater, streaming content, upcoming events, and more!