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Producers' Lab

November 12, 20122 years ago

Pete Nicks' The Waiting Room, Shortlisted for the Oscars

Pete Nicks’ The Waiting Room has been shortlisted for the Oscars!

Here is what Pete said in an interview with Variety:

"I can't tell you how many times we walked up to people and told them what we were doing, and they'd say, 'My story doesn't matter -- why does anybody care about my story?' This recognition is really special to me; it's a validation that their story does matter." Pete Nicks has also been nominated for the following prestigious awards:

2012 Gotham IFP nominee for Best Documentary

2013 Independent Spirit Awards double nominee: Best Documentary & Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award

2013 Cinema Eye nominee: Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film

This film is currently in theatrical distribution in selected cities around the country and will broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in the 2013-2014 season. Please click here to see the current schedule.

The Waiting Room, which follows the life and times of patients and caregivers at Highland Hospital, a public hospital in Oakland, CA, was picked as New York Times and New York Magazine Critics Pick, won the Golden Gate and Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, a Silver Docs and True or False official selection, and won the Guggenheim Emerging Artists Award at Full Frame.

A huge congratulations to Pete from Firelight Family!
October 11, 20122 years ago


The Firelight Media's Producers' Lab has a new addition: Dawn Porter for her film Spies of Mississippi. Dawn was also recently selected by Realscreen as a "Doc Hot Shot" for 2012. She was is one of 15 emerging directors that represent the future of feature-length non-fiction filmmaking. Check out the winners here. Congrats Dawn!

Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret state spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Sovereignty Commission was overseen by the Governor of Mississippi and handpicked board of 12 of the most powerful men in the state. The Commission’s purpose was to preserve segregation at any cost. It was granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, to keep secret files, to make arrests and even to compel testimony. To do this, they employed a network of investigators and informants to infiltrate civil rights organizations and undercut their efforts. Ultimately, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission spied on tens of thousands of Americans and collected over 160,000 pages of files.

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September 20, 20122 years ago

Jason DaSilva Receives 2013 Princess Grace Honorary Fellowship!

Jason DaSilva (When I Walk) is the recipient of the 2013 Princess Grace Honorary Fellowship given in recognition of his talent and to support him to complete his film. The Fellowship comes with a cash award and makes Jason eligible to compete for other Princess Grace support-for-filmmakers initiatives.

Jason is a participant in the Firelight Media Producers' Lab.
September 6, 20122 years ago

What's Next for Firelight? -- A Word From Stanley Nelson

As we wrap up the summer, I am especially excited about our two newest projects: one film about the Black Panther Party and another one about Freedom Summer. This Fall promises to be exciting as we start doing interviews and collecting footage.

For me, these projects are so close together in terms of era—1964 and 1966, but they are incredibly different stories. In many ways they are about different paths to liberation for African Americans. These projects are important now because we want to capture the voices of those who were active in those struggles and are aging. They are also about how individuals can participate and make a call to action in very different ways: one group fighting for the vote and for change within the system and the other saying we need drastic revolutionary change in this country. In many ways, young people have mythologized them, but many don’t know the true story. We want to make these figures human and demonstrate that the people who participated were really young. Movements can happen if you participate and if you believe in them.

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July 13, 20122 years ago

Congrats to Labsters Mike Brown & Yoruba Richen!

This month, the Fledgling Fund announced its new grantees. Producers' Lab members Mike Brown and Yoruba Richen both received community engagement funding for their films, 25 to Life, and The New Black, respectively. A special congrats to both of them!
June 24, 20122 years ago

Cristina Ibarra and Jennifer Fox on Non-fiction Filmmaking

As part of the PBS series POV's 25th season, Filmmaker Magazine ran a four-part conversation series featuring non-fiction filmmakers Cristina Ibarra and Jennifer Fox last week. Cristina is a participant in Firelight Media's Producers' Lab for her upcoming film Las Marthas. See below for links to the series as well as excerpts from the conversations.

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June 21, 20122 years ago


Firelight Films Producer/Director Laurens Grant has had a whirlwind year. From receiving an Emmy Award and speaking at various ceremonies for her role as producer on FREEDOM RIDERS, to premiering and promoting her new film JESSE OWENS, working on her own independent film ROKIA: VOICE OF A NEW GENERATION, and pre-production with Stanley Nelson on the upcoming documentary special on the Black Panther Party, Laurens has indeed been a busy lady.

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June 21, 20122 years ago

New Promo Reel for the Producers' Lab

Do you want to learn more about the Producers' Lab? Check out our exciting new promo reel! This brief video includes interviews with Lab members, footage from Producers' Lab events, a special interview with Emmy Award-winning editor Lewis Erskine, and short clips from several Lab participants' films.

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June 20, 20122 years ago

UPDATE on "The Waiting Room" by Pete Nicks

Pete Nicks’ new film, THE WAITING ROOM has been screening and winning awards across the country. THE WAITING ROOM is an intimate look at our country’s health care system told through stories of ordinary people in an Oakland California emergency waiting room. Variety calls this verite documentary "rock-solid" and argues that it "provides ample evidence why our national health-care system needs fixing."

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June 17, 20122 years ago

RECAP FROM THE FIRELIGHT MEDIA AND OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS SEMINAR: "Creating Social Impact through Story in a Transmedia World."

Last month, Firelight Media and The Open Society Foundations (OSF) co-hosted our third annual seminar: "Creating Social Impact through Story in a Transmedia World." The event was declared a great success by the over 80 attendees who took part in the two-day event on May 7th and 8th, 2012. Read more