The NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios will have an open call for documentary shorts pitches on projects that highlight underrepresented communities.

The program — in collaboration with IF/Then Shorts — is part of the Original Voices film fellowship that launched in 2021.

Following the open call, five teams will be selected to receive a $6,000 grant and travel to New York City this fall. They will then take the stage at DOC NYC to pitch their projects in front of a live panel of journalists, funders, news executives, and distributors. One winning team will receive a $100,000 investment in their project, as well as a commission deal with NBC News Studios, NBC News’ documentary division. They also will have access to the NBCU News Group’s archive and production resources, as well as executives and journalists.

Applications for the program — called the Original VoicesShorts Pitch — are open through April 14, 2023. Those eligible include U.S. based filmmakers who are 18 years or older, and who identify as women, LGBTQ+ folx, communities of color, and people with disabilities, or those filmmakers who highlight social issues affecting those communities. More information on the application process here:

The Original Voices fellowship and artist development program has premiered four films so far, including I Didn’t See You There, which won the Sundance documentary best director award in 2022; Mija, which also was at Sundance last year; Bad Press, which won the special jury prize for freedom of expression at Sundance this year; and Hummingbirds, recognized at Berlinale 2023 with Grand Prix, Generation 14plus. 


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