Rising Director Fellowship

The Rising Director Fellowship is a yearlong intensive that fosters 5-8 directors who show a substantial portfolio of work in the short form space (narrative shorts, episodic, commercials, music videos, and web content) who have yet to direct a narrative feature film. Read more about our 2024 fellows here.

Sponsored By


Throughout the year the participants will meet with executives from studios and production companies, attend specialized workshops on the business and craft of directing feature films, and refine their script, deck, and pitch materials, as well as have the opportunity to create a proof of concept short film with support from our sponsors. The year will culminate with a screening of these proof of concept films, and a mixer to showcase the directors’ work and network with industry guests.

Applications for the 2024 Cycle are now closed. 

Program Components

  • Group meetings to connect fellows with producers and executives, to learn from their experiences working with first time feature directors
  • Hands on educational workshops focused on the tools needed to successfully craft a film
  • Workshops to refine materials, create a successful pitch and deck, and provide screenplay coverage
  • Proof of Concept: Our partners will provide in-kind equipment and support to help create a proof of concept short film.

    Participant Requirements

  • Directed 1 project accepted to Academy Qualifying festival, broadcast on television/streaming (including commercials), or picked up for distribution
  • Directed two additional projects that were accepted to any film festival, or broadcast on television/streaming (including commercials), or picked up for distribution.
  • Feature narrative script, either written by the director or attached to. (If accepted, written releases will be required). Feature must be budgeted under ~$10 million.
  • Has yet to direct a feature film (TV Episodes OK)
  • Because of the unique nature of this program, participating directors must be based in the Los Angeles area for the entirety of the Fellowship

    Application Requirements

  • Links to Three Directing Samples, along with supporting evidence for their qualifications (festival acceptance, broadcast/streaming, and/or distribution)
  • Feature Film Title, Logline (1-2 sentences), Synopsis (750 words max), and script PDF
  • Director Biography (500 words max). Please include any major festivals, accolades, distinctions, awards, labs, and/or fellowships.
  • Professional Resume
  • Representation Information (if any)
  • Letter of Recommendation from an Industry Professional


  • 2-4 meetings monthly, in person or on zoom, with our educational and networking partners
  • Proof of Concept: Write and shoot a proof of concept for your film. The short could be a scene pulled from your script, or a more in-depth dive into the world. Budget and scope are up to the director, who will be responsible for fundraising.
  • Open to further development on script with notes from our partners. *If script is from another writer/co-writer, agreements will be required.
  • Creating and workshopping pitches and decks

    2024 Program Timeline

  • September 2023 : Program Announced
  • October 1 – 31, 2023: Applications Open
  • November 2023 – December: Second Round Interviews
  • End of December 2023: Fellows notified
  • January 2024: Fellows Publicly Announced, program commences
  • January – May 2024: Educational and Networking meetings, Proof of Concept Development
  • May – August 2024: Shoot Proof of concept, Educational and networking meetings.
  • August – November 2024: Post on films, further development on refining scripts and pitches, networking meetings
  • November/December 2024: Screening + Mixer, Program concludes


  • Kodak
  • Seed&Spark
  • Sony
  • TriStar
  • Disney
  • Picture Start
  • Meredith Milton (NRDC)
  • Killer Films
  • Universal
  • Paramount


  • Panavision
  • Scriptation
  • Shotdeck
  • Peerspace
  • Front Row Insurance
  • Coverfly + Final Draft
  • Chemical Wedding, makers of Artemis Pro and Helios Pro
  • Wrapbook
  • Line 204


  • Camera and Lens Support from Panavision*
  • 50% Discount from Peerspace (up to $500) for proof of concept
  • $150 Discount on Production Insurance from Front Row Insurance for proof of concept
  • Personal Consultation with Seed&Spark Rep for Fundraising for proof of concept
  • AWD will act as fiscal sponsor for fundraising
  • Free Year of Scriptation, with a private and in-depth training session
  • Free Year of Shot Deck
  • Free Year of Artemis Pro
  • Free Copy of Final Draft
  • Free Notes from WeScreenplay
  • No platform fee from Wrapbook, Official Payroll Provider of RDF 2024**

*Pending Availability
**Fringes still apply

Please note, this program is designed for narrative feature films.