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The Lab


The Lab is a free after-school film making workshop that matches NYC teens one-on-one with professional filmmaker-mentors to create original short documentaries about their lives and communities.

It’s a powerful combination that unlocks young voices, unleashes young talents and creates films that are personal, powerful and real.

Each fall and spring, we select 14 diverse and talented teens – and 14 professional filmmakers – from across New York City for the 20-week workshop. The Lab challenges each student to write and develop a personal documentary story on a subject of his or her choice. Students learn writing, storytelling, basic camera, lighting, sound and Final Cut Pro editing software as they put their ideas into action to create original short films. The course culminates in a graduation screening to friends, family and the community.

Films created in The Lab have been seen by over 8 million viewers worldwide, have earned five Student Emmys and have been featured on CNN, World News Tonight and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Thousands of New Yorkers watch our films each week on Reel Works With Byron Hurt on NYC-Life. In 2008, The Lab was honored at the White House by the President’s Council on the Humanities as one of the top arts programs in the country.


To apply, you must be 14-20 years old and be able to attend after-school classes twice a week at Reel Works in Gowanus, Brooklyn. You must also have a strong desire to work with a mentor and be able to meet him/her once a week at a time you choose together.

Most importantly, you must have a story you are passionate about and absolutely must tell the world!

Classes Meet

Every Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30pm-7:00pm at Reel Works.Students film and edit their movies between classes.

The Lab is a 20-week course offered twice a year in the Fall (October-February) and Spring (March-June) semesters.

Next Deadline to Apply (EXTENDED!)

September 18, 2015


We highly encourage you to meet with a Reel Works staff member to review your application prior to submission. Please contact Education Director Laurel Gwizdak at 718-408-7497 or

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