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Creative Culture Fellowship Application Guidelines

Now accepting applications for Spring 2022 Creative Culture Fellowships.

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.

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 fellowship term. 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. This is an ideal space in your application to mention significant creative influences and themes you explore in your work, and to contextualize your previous work/filmmaking experiences and your goals as a filmmaker.
  • 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 (Feb. 2022-June 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.).
  • Two (2) Professional References: Contact information of references required. Letters of recommendation/reference are not required or expected.
  • 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. Applicants are encouraged to review films previously produced with fellowship support to get a sense of the type of projects the fellowship supports.
  • 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 Spring 2022 Creative Culture fellowships is December 15, 2021. Candidates will be notified of their application status by February 2022. Four fellowships will be awarded with a tentative start date of mid-February 2022. 


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 creativeculture@burnsfilmcenter.org

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