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We created the Fledgling Engagement Lab to extend and deepen our support for documentary filmmakers interested in maximizing the social impact of their projects and building collaborative relationships with their peers.


The Fledgling Engagement Lab brings together a small number of social issue documentary film teams along with experts and mentors to design and implement effective outreach and engagement strategies. It is designed to support each project team and maximize the film’s social impact. Participants become Fledgling Fellows.

The Lab is open to documentary film projects that are in the early stages of planning and executing outreach and engagement and meet Fledgling’s grant criteria. Film teams are invited to the Lab based on their commitment to outreach and engagement, stage of project and their collaborative spirit.

The Lab includes a series of focused residencies and online and in-person gatherings, in which these Fledgling Fellows work with one another and with experts to craft their social impact goals and strategies for achieving and documenting them.  We share this impact and learning through case studies, papers and our blog.

We launched the first Engagement Lab in 2014 with financial support from the Ford Foundation and the Dobkin Family Foundation and thank them for their support.  We are thrilled to have the support of the Dobkin Family Foundation and the Union Square Fund for the second Engagement Lab. We also are grateful to Wendy Levy who helped us design the Lab and to the other advisors and experts who contributed their expertise and knowledge along the way.

2016 LAB

The second Lab launches Spring 2016 and will run through Spring 2017. Each of these eight films has significant potential to make impact, a dedicated team and a commitment to collaboration. We look forward to working with them over the next year.

2014 LAB

The first Lab was launched in Spring 2014 and ran through Fall 2015. We are incredibly proud of the projects and the impact they have had and will continue to have. Learn more about the participating projects: