Find Your Local Film Community, Programs and Resources
To help you get started on your journey, we’ve identified organizations in major film hubs that provide mentoring, training, networking opportunities, pathways to employment, or tools for job-seekers. We are always looking to expand our list of nonprofit and municipal partners that are offering programs to support greater inclusion on set. If you would like to be considered to be listed, please contact us directly.
One of the fastest ways to get involved in your local community is to reach out to your local film commission. Film commissions are formed by cities, counties, states, provinces, or federal governments to help develop the film and television production industry in their area of governance. Your local or regional film commission may be able to connect you to organizations focused on developing local film crew personnel, or have information on other local opportunities.
The Association of Film Commissioners International provides information for over 300 film commissions worldwide, across six continents, and you can find their directory here. If there’s no film commission in your city, consider searching within your state.
Sample questions to ask when calling your local film commission:
- Do you offer any information for individuals interested in joining the film industry locally?
- Do you know of any local organizations working to build our local film community or that educate individuals about film jobs?
- Are there listings or job boards focused on local film jobs?
- How can I submit my information to be included in your production manual as someone who is available for production work?
- Do you know of any internships, traineeships, or mentorships offered within the industry locally?
CINEMATORGRAPHERSXX is a resource to find and hire cinematographers based in Los Angeles or New York who identify as women. They are inclusive and supportive, while maintaining a high standard of experience and works. They feature cinematographers at all career stages. Early career cinematographers with no experience to two years of professional industry experience can apply to be listed on their NuWave page here.
Film Fatales is a 501(c)3 nonprofit which advocates for parity in the film industry and supports an inclusive community of over a thousand women and non-binary feature film and television directors nationwide. Film Fatales supports local communities with public events, quarterly speaker series, and monthly mentor circles in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Orleans, New York, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Toronto, and Sydney. They also have a robust virtual community.
Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (the Institute) is an entertainment organization dedicated to balancing on-screen gender representation, reducing harmful stereotypes, and creating strong, well-rounded, female characters. Operating under their motto “If she can see it, she can be it”, the Institute conducts research on gender portrayal in media, and works with industry partners to empower women on screen. It also hosts events for the general public in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Bentonville.
Find more information on the Institute and events here.
Sundance Inclusion Resource Map
The Sundance Institute Inclusion Resource Map is an online repository of actionable information for artists and film industry workers from underrepresented communities across the country. The Inclusion Resource Map compiles intel and opportunities across areas such as funding, networking and community events, mentorship and education, and professional development. It is searchable by multiple factors, including by location.
Find the map here.
Women And Hollywood
Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the global film industry. Women and Hollywood blogs in a unique proactive style to engage filmgoers and filmmakers with news and information highlighting women filmmakers and agitates for increased opportunities for women. They foster a network of women across the industry by hosting meet-ups, panels and events in London, New York, Los Angeles and at film festivals.
Find more information here.
Women In Animation
Founded in 1995, Women In Animation is dedicated to advancing women in the field of animation. WIA envisions a world where women share equally in the creation, production and rewards of animation, and provides resources and connections to make it happen. WIA has US chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, as well as other chapters globally.
Find more information on WIA’s “50/50 by 2025” goal, professional development workshops, mentorships, scholarship programs, job opportunities, membership and events happening around the world here.
Women in Film & Television International
The goal of Women in Film & Television International is to create gender balance in the entertainment industry. Each local chapter is managed separately.
Don’t see your Women in Film chapter listed for your state? Look at the full list of chapters here.
Women Make Movies
For more than 45 years, Women Make Movies has worked to transform the filmmaking landscape for diverse women directors and producers, helping to bring issues facing women around the world to light. Their Production Assistance Program assists women directors with their productions from concept through completion with fiscal sponsorship, consultations, workshop and webinars and other technical assistance. Women Make Movies amplifies the voices of people historically ignored by the mainstream media. Their collection, which features Academy, Emmy, Peabody and Sundance nominees and award winners, is used by thousands of cultural, educational and community organizations across North America.
Find more information here.
Exceptional Minds is a vocational school and professional studio preparing young people on the autism spectrum for meaningful careers in the fields of visual effects, animation, 3D/gaming, and motion graphics. Exceptional Minds studio and its graduates have been contracted for work by major studios and for movies such as 2020 Oscar nominees Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as well as 2019 Academy Award-winners Green Book, First Man, and Black Panther. Autism crosses all lines of race, gender, and ethnicity. Exceptional Minds’ vision is an equitable society in which artists on the autism spectrum are recognized for their unique talents and empowered to become full members of the creative community, working successfully in their chosen art forms.
Find more information, including about their part-time, full-time, and apprenticeship programs, here.
Los Angeles City College Cinema and TV Department
The Los Angeles City College (LACC) Cinema and Television Department is dedicated to providing students with the technical skills and creative guidance to prepare them for professions in the entertainment industry. It offers a low-cost, comprehensive, hands-on training program that provides both basic and advanced courses in film, video and television studio production. Students can choose from an Associate of Arts Degree in Cinema or Television Production (AA), and/or earn skills certificates and certificates of achievement in Cinema Production, Cinema-Video Production, Television Production, Cinematography, Directing, and Producing. Many students transfer to four-year schools, such as USC, UCLA, and CSUN, or transition directly into lifelong careers in the entertainment industry.
You can find information about certificates, classes, tuition and other information about LACC’s Cinema and TV programs here.
Los Angeles Urban League: Backstage Careers Program
The Los Angeles Urban League helps underserved communities in Los Angeles participate to the fullest extent in American life by helping to change the social and economic conditions of their environment. Its newly-launched Backstage Careers program prepares participants to start a new career in the entertainment industry through education and training, and by partnering with employers in the industry looking for qualified applicants.
For more information or to apply, please visit the Los Angeles Urban League website.
Streetlights is a Job Training, Job Placement and Career Advancement organization. It was founded in 1992 with a mission to balance inequity of gender and race behind-the-camera by creating a multicultural talent pool to be accessed by Film, Television, TV Commercial and Digital productions, and maintaining a Crew Availability Roster for use by Production Companies seeking to hire. Streetlights provides entry-level training and employment as Production Assistants (PAs) for young people from diverse backgrounds, particularly women and members of the LGBTQ community, and enables access to union membership for senior PAs.
You can find more information, including application requirements, here.
Women in Film, Los Angeles
Women in Film, Los Angeles advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries to achieve parity and transform culture. Women in Film supports all women working in film, television, and digital media, from emerging to advanced careers. Their programs include mentoring, speaker and screening series, a production training program, and writing labs. Membership is open to all media professionals.
More information can be found on their website.
Women in Film & Video of Washington, DC
Women in Film & Video of Washington, DC (WIFV) is dedicated to advancing the career development and achievement for professionals working in all areas of screen-based media and related disciplines. In its 40th year, WIFV continues to support independent media by providing professional development programs, an annual media job fair, scholarships, networking, and a supportive community. They have nearly 900 members from all areas of media production and provide 90 public programs per year.
More information can be found on their website.
Atlanta Film Society
The mission of the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS) is to connect, educate, and engage audiences with the creative industry by supporting artists and providing a platform for their work. ATLFS has a wide variety of programming, including their New Mavericks program, which highlights female excellence and explores filmmaking disciplines both above and below the line. Find more information on ATLFS, including New Mavericks meet-ups, here.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is a state agency established to grow Georgia’s economy by attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, and aligning workforce education and training with in-demand jobs. GDEcD summarizes resources available in the state, including networking opportunities and a list of film and tv production classes and workshops taking place around the state. Find them here.
Urban League of Greater Atlanta
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta (ULGA) is a dedicated person-to-person organization invested in the economic success of African-Americans, coaching them to a better life. ULGA offers information on film and television career pathways, and co-hosts an annual film and television careers symposium with the City of Atlanta and career workshops that include film and television careers. ULGA also supports hires at Tyler Perry Studios, recently partnered with Amazing Stories Foundation to conduct a Production Assistant Film/TV Apprenticeship Program with support from Fulton County Films, the City of College Park and Workforce Atlanta, and recently published an entertainment and arts career guide.
Find more information here.
Women In Film and Television Atlanta
Women In Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA) is dedicated to improving the status and portrayal of women in film, television, video and other screen-based media by offering opportunities for media makers to connect, create, champion and inspire. Since its inception in 1974, WIFTA has proudly had a membership community of multi-generational and culturally diverse professionals – women and men. Their membership is comprised of professionals who work in every aspect of the entertainment industry and also includes businesses and organizations interested in supporting and promoting the creativity and skills that women bring to all motion pictures.
Find more information here.
Chicago Filmmakers is a media arts nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing aspiring filmmakers and supporting Chicago’s local film community. Founded in 1973, Chicago Filmmakers started as an exhibition screening space for emerging filmmakers. Now, the organization continues to support filmmakers and digital media artists through fiscal sponsorships, production grants, screenings and networking events. Chicago Filmmakers hosts two annual film festivals: Reeling the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and The Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival.
Chicago Filmmakers provides classes, workshops, and summer camps to provide aspiring filmmakers with the necessary industry skills. Classes include Digital Filmmaking, Cinematography and Lighting, and Screenwriting, and are taught by award winning professionals dedicated to mentorship.
Find more information on their website.
Free Spirit Media
Free Spirit Media provides teens and young adults in communities of color on Chicago’s West and South sides with a comprehensive foundation in media literacy and hands-on media production experience. Free Spirit Media runs in-school arts education, after school and summer digital media programs, and advanced creative workforce development programs. It offers an incremental line up of community-based programs for teens and young adults ages 14-25 interested in the film, media, and journalism industries.
Find more information here, including information on their programs and examples of their work.
Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. As an advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary. Its filmmaker development programs are the entry point for many into their community and have cultivated a network of 500+ alumni.
Learn more about their programs, including internships, mentorships, and rough cut labs, here.
Film New Orleans
Film New Orleans is the official film office of the City of New Orleans. The office works to support the city’s expanding film industry through business attraction and development, streamlines the permitting process, supports production workforce training and educational programs and supports the growth of indigenous filmmaking.
Through their website you can find opportunities for training and education. You can also sign up for their crew database, or sign up with a local talent agency to be considered as a background actor for local productions, which is a good opportunity to learn more about what it’s like to work on set.
NOVAC is a national leader in community-based creative industry workforce development. Their programs are designed to connect locals to real opportunities in the film industry that will lead to real careers. Since 2007, NOVAC has partnered with federal, state and local governments, major studios, film industry unions and community organizations to open access to the film industry’s high-wage, low-barrier-to-entry careers for Louisianans and for people around the country.
Learn more about NOVAC here.
Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC)
The Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) is the trade association for film and media in Massachusetts. Located in Boston, MPC offers educational programming, as well as opportunities to network and build your film community. As part of its work, MPC hosts a variety of professional development seminars and job training workshops that target workers at all stages of their careers, including an annual Production Assistant training program. MPC also hosts community events such as Women Connect, an annual industry storytelling event, and an annual conference Mass Media Expo with over 500 entertainment industry attendees.
Find more information on MPC events, programming and membership here.
Women In Film and Video – New England
Women in Film and Video – New England (WIFVNE) works to “Change the Lens” for New England filmmakers by advancing female storytellers in their craft through networking, community, mentoring, and education. Founded in 1981, Women in Film & Video New England (WIFVNE) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to supporting the accomplishments of women working in the film, video and new media industries. They provide an educational forum for media professionals and a network for exchange of ideas and resources. WIFVNE works to promote proactive images of women to the public and to empower all women in film and video to achieve their professional potential.
Find more information about WIFWNE here.
Bronx Community College’s Continuing Education Film Production Training Program
Bronx Community College’s (BCC) Continuing Education Film Production Training Program prepares students for opportunities in multiple film production crafts. This workforce-training initiative was created by New York’s Division of Workforce Development and Continuing Education in collaboration with the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, IATSE union Local 52, and the New York Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development. BCC’s film production training program provides instruction and job training to ease the path into IATSE Local 52.
Find more information and pre-application portal here.
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT)
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers. As the preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT energizes women by illuminating their achievements, presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers.
More information can be found on their website.