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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 six-month workshop. Taught in partnership with Urban Word NYC, 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 as they put their ideas into action to create original short films. The course culminates in a gala 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 a high school student between 14-20 years old and be able to attend after-school classes at Reel Works in Park Slope, 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 Tuesday and Thursday, 4:30pm-6:30pm, at Reel Works. Students meet their mentors one hour each week at a time they set together. Students film and edit their movies between classes. The Lab is a six-month course offered twice a year in the Fall (October-April) and Spring (February-July) semesters.

Deadline to Apply

September 26th, 2014

Featured Video

My Father's Stories
My Father's Stories by Abdul Aziz

My Father's Stories

In 1971, Bangladesh fought a war of independence from Pakistan. As sons of veterans of that war, Adbul and his friends want to know more about the history, but it can be difficult to get the older generation to talk about it. With persistence and some guidance they find a way to connect and honor the brave men around them who were teenagers themselves when they took up arms for freedom.

Spring 2009

Society & Politics


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