The Transgender Film Center (TFC), a nonprofit working to bring more transgender-led stories to the world, today announced earlier this month that it  will launch the inaugural Career Development Lab at TFC this spring – a new 12-week intensive aimed at accelerating the careers of some 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,” Transgender Film Center Executive Director Sav Rodgers said in a press release. “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 – and understand the sometimes unwritten expectations – 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 the operations of entertainment organizations. 

“One of the things we believe sets this lab apart from others is the real-talk curriculum,” Rodgers mentioned. “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.” 

The program is funded by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, a dedicated effort to help build new opportunities for underrepresented communities within 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 now open until April 23  at 11:59 p.m. PST  (1:59 a.m. CST).

To apply, click here

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.

–From staff reports