Transgender Film Center Opens Applications for Top Trans Filmmakers Fellowship

By Nicole Mitchell

The Transgender Film Center (TFC), a Kansas City-based nonprofit working to bring more transgender-led stories to the world, recently announced it will launch the inaugural Career Development Lab at TFC this spring. The 12-week intensive program is funded by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity and is aimed at accelerating the careers of the most promising transgender and nonbinary creators in film and television.

“While transgender creators are beginning to make headway in pursuing their storytelling careers, there is still a powerful need to both enable access and prepare trans filmmakers to succeed in the industry,” says Sav Rodgers, the executive director of theTransgender Film Center. “We are so excited about the Career Development Lab because we believe its rubber-meets-the-road insights and partnerships with industry players will help participants break into careers in film and television.”

The eight creators chosen for the lab will participate in a connected series of virtual classes, in-person workshops, and hands-on site visits designed to develop the skills that determine success in the entertainment field. At each step, the selected participants will come into direct contact with working industry executives and experience first-hand operations of entertainment organizations.

“One of the things we believe sets this lab apart from others is the real-talk curriculum,” Rodgers says. “We are getting into the nitty-gritty of how to navigate the industry as a trans person, what to do when you encounter bias, how decisions really get made that affect your advancement—things that aren’t talked about in the open, but are required knowledge to get the most out of a career in entertainment.”

In addition to the program curriculum, all selected creators will receive a $10,000 unrestricted grant to support their participation in the program, and travel and accommodations related to in-person experiences will also be covered.

Following the course, graduates of the lab will apply their new insights to a written plan, supported by new industry contacts, their expanded peer network, and lab resources.

Submissions for the program are open until April 23, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST. Applicants will be scored by a panel of TFC board members and lab partners on their demonstrated strength in six individual areas, including potential, readiness, and need. Selected participants are anticipated to be notified by May 31, 2023.

Nicole Mitchell (she/they) is a writer and social media manager who graduated December 2020 with a degree in strategic communication. A few of her favorite things include cuddling with cats, listening to Bon Iver, making lattes, and running her book club (even though sometimes she forgets to read the books.)

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