BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship

Expansive Cinema. Transformative Community.

The MediaMaker Fellowship is devoted to supporting documentary filmmakers using bold cinematic language and innovative impact strategies to grapple with critical issues of our time.

Our cohort is a collaborative, community-driven space that places diversity, representation, and ethical relationships with storytelling at the forefront of our practice. We aim to build a safe space for filmmakers to workshop their films, establish critical bonds and relationships, and gain valuable insights as they go on to build their careers in the field. We seek candidates who have the potential to impact our understanding of how documentaries can transform the world, as well as expanding the quality of the art of nonfiction.

Meet the 2024 MediaMaker Fellows

Graphic featuring the 2024 BAVC MediaMaker Fellows

Offerings & Structure

This ten-month-long program supports the development of documentary projects that are nearing post-production, and includes:

  • $10,000 distributed to each Fellow over the course of the Fellowship (plus additional travel per diems)
  • Professional mentorship and strategy sessions focused on documentary storytelling, career sustainability, fundraising, distribution, and more.
  • Two San Francisco convenings (travel paid) comprised of immersive tailored workshops, intimate feedback sessions, and presentations by leading filmmakers and industry figures.
  • All-access pass, round trip flight, accommodations, and a customized itinerary for Getting Real in Los Angeles and the Camden International Film Festival in Maine assuming travel is safe and advisable. All plans are subject to change according to pandemic restrictions and best practices, as well as the availability of festival programs.
  • Consistent workshops and check-ins, 1-3 hours in length, scheduled in advance, throughout the year.
    A built-in support network.
  • Opportunities for continued mentorship and support in the future as a MediaMaker alum.
  • All Fellowship applicants and Fellowship alumni are eligible for five hours of one-on-one mentorship through the BAVC MediaMaker Connect Mentorship Program.

Eligibility & Criteria

  • The project should be non-commercial, primarily documentary or non-fiction in nature (this includes hybrid docs which are encouraged to apply), and should have the potential for social impact.
  • The MediaMaker Fellowship program is particularly interested in supporting a diverse cross-section of media creators, especially those who are working on their first or second feature-length project or are otherwise taking a creative leap with their project. Above all, ideal candidates should demonstrate a strong capacity for artistic growth.
  • Eligible films will have at least begun production and can be well into post-production. A project would be considered too far along to benefit from the Fellowship if picture-lock is expected before the end of the program year. Projects should be in a place to benefit from workshopping (scenes, story, structure, edit, etc.) with the cohort and seasoned guest filmmakers.
  • Though there is no citizenship requirement for the Fellowship, at this time the program cannot support Fellows who are primarily based outside of the U.S. We encourage filmmakers from all regions of the U.S. to apply. BAVC Media will select a cohort of Fellows that is roughly half Bay Area-based with the other half based elsewhere in the United States.

MediaMaker Connect

In 2020 BAVC Media launched the new MediaMaker Connect Mentorship Program, in the spirit of building the field, supporting nonfiction filmmakers to complete their projects, and facilitating connections between filmmakers at different stages of their careers. This new program provides emerging filmmakers, as well as MediaMaker Fellowship Alum, with 5-months of one-on-one mentorship in which filmmakers receive feedback and counsel from industry professionals addressing their unique challenges from story development to post-production roadblocks. This new effort extends the scope of the MediaMaker program from a one-year fellowship to a spectrum of support that spans early development to artistic fruition.BAVC Media is thrilled to deepen our commitment to cultivating a continuum of infrastructure and support for early-career documentary filmmakers.

Program History

Since 1991, BAVC Media’s MediaMaker Fellowship (formerly the National MediaMaker Fellowship and the BAVC Producers Institute) has provided in-kind creative support for independent artists at work on social-issue nonfiction film and multimedia projects, with a particular focus on supporting emerging artists and underrepresented communities. The Fellowship builds an engaged national community of creative media artists from diverse fields, increases their capacity for project completion and lasting impact, and inspires new partnerships and collaboration to support future work.

Program Funders

The MediaMaker Fellowship and associated programs are supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Perspective Fund, and Film SF.