Studio Thirteen Future Filmmakers Lab

Group of young adults gathered. Some holding DSLRs and mobile phones. A sign in the background titled "Studio Thirteen, Future Filmmakers Lab"

Studio Thirteen is an intensive lab for talented creative youths who are interested in honing their filmmaking skills. Created for young artists who wish to further their media arts education in a collaborative environment, participants will work in small teams to create an impactful short film over the course of thirteen weeks while learning the ins-and-outs of filmmaking. Offering one of the few training grounds for student filmmakers, this program provides students grades 9-12 the opportunity to gain hands-on vocational experience while receiving guidance and support every step of the way.

As the leading youth media arts nonprofit and filmmaker support organization in the Upper Midwest, FilmNorth has championed, shaped, and amplified the voices of emerging film and media artists for over 35 years. In service to the development and advancement of the next generation of filmmakers, we are happy to announce our newest effort to support the cultivation of new and original voices.

Developed in response to the specific needs of the current youth media arts landscape, Studio Thirteen distinguishes itself from other labs by providing participants with a series of cross-disciplinary developmental opportunities and a rare opportunity to produce a film that will be screened at FilmNorth’s new media arts center, and submitted to national student film festivals at no cost to the participants.


What Can Be Expected?

  • Accelerated skill development of major disciplines within the cinematic arts, including but not limited to: directing, casting, producing, assistant directing, production design, costuming, cinematography, editing, sound (recording and editing), color correction, and film scoring.
  • Assignment of key production roles in which selected filmmakers perform all primary and essential functions respective of their designated position.
  • Participation in production meetings, workshops, and training sessions for film production equipment and post-production softwares.
  • Constructive feedback, production consultation, and creative strategy assistance from instructors and/or guest lecturers.
  • A minimum of two location scouts and/or production weekends scheduled and coordinated by the project’s producer and assistant director.
  • Accompanying focus lectures excerpted from Director of Engagement and Advancement Robert Ndondo-Lay’s Foundation of Modern Filmmaking theory and practice course.
  • Emphasis on collaborative learning, artistic expression, planning and preparation, interdepartmental communication, and creative problem solving.

Key Dates

June 28, 2023: Studio Thirteen Future Filmmakers Lab announced

July 10, 2023:  Call for submissions open

August 18, 2023: Submissions deadline (11:59pm CT)

August 21–25, 2023: Applicant interviews

September 4, 2023: Notification of selected filmmakers

September 26, 2023: First lab day

December 21, 2023: Final lab day

What Is The Weekly Time Commitment?

Studio Thirteen Future Filmmakers will meet 3 times a week afterschool from 5pm-7pm. The schedule will typically show as follows:

Tuesday - Foundations of Modern Filmmaking Focus Lecture, Screen Analysis, Group Discussion
Wednesday - Craft Workshop & Demonstration, Focus Practice Session
Thursday - Script Analysis, Production Meeting, Group Lab Day

Participants will additionally schedule two location scouts, and two production days on the weekend(s) of their choosing (e.g. for a film shoot scheduled on Saturday November 18th, participants may elect to preliminary visit the location on Saturday November 4th.Learn more about location scouting.

Is External Preparation Required Of Participants?

While it is encouraged, it is not required.

Who Is Eligible To Apply?

Studio Thirteen Future Filmmakers Lab is open to a diverse range of early career filmmakers grades 9-12. FilmNorth is committed to creating and supporting an artistic community in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Applicants from all communities are encouraged to apply, including but not limited to those of diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, gender expressions, sexual identities, class, physical and mental abilities, generations, religions, countries of origin, languages, and immigration statuses.

In addition, all applicants must be compliant with the following:

Minnesota Residency. As this is an in-person program, all applicants must reside in-state for the entirety of the program’s duration.

Within Grades 9 through 12 at the time of program commencement.

Community Values Statement: Participant agrees to adhere to and uphold FilmNorth’s community values throughout the entirety of the program’s duration. Failure to comply may result in immediate dismissal.

Perfect Attendance Clause:  Applicant understands that their invitation and admission to FilmNorth’s Studio Thirteen Future Filmmakers Lab is contingent on their ability to be present and on time for all required meetings, focus lectures, craft workshops, location scouts, and production days. Failure to comply may result in immediate dismissal.

May I Apply If I’m Not A U.S. Citizen?

Yes! As long as you are able to maintain residency in Minnesota for the entirety of the program’s duration, anyone who meets the eligibility requirements above may apply.

Does This Program Fund Filmmakers’ Projects?

No. Studio Thirteen is not a granting opportunity nor a fellowship. It is a creative lab dedicated to developing and advancing vocational skills of aspiring media artists by affording them hands-on experience in traditional filmmaking crafts.

What Do I Need To Apply?

  1. A Brief Artist Statement (learn more about artist statements)
  2. Media Arts Identity Questionnaire (included in application)
  3. Optional: Work Samples (see examples of work samples)
  4. Optional: One Letter of Recommendation (tips for requesting recommendations)

What If I’ve Never Made A Film Before?

That's OK! While experience in videography, editing, screenwriting, storyboarding, photography, or animation are certainly welcomed—costume and fashion design, music production, event planning, graphic design, podcasting, theater arts, game design, hair-styling, and makeup artistry are all examples of skill-sets that are transferable to filmmaking.

How Should I Prepare?

A few helpful hints for your application:

  1. Consider your gifts and talents. What makes you special is always good to know—and is of value on a film set (e.g., being highly organized, reliable, communicative, enjoying supporting others, and being collaborative).
  2. Be honest and intentional about what you wish to gain from the Lab. How does the Lab tie in to your plan for current and future self-development? (E.g., if you’re an emerging director perhaps you want to learn how to best work with actors, or if you’re a film composer perhaps you’ve been looking for a short film to score).

If I Don’t Get Accepted, May I Request Feedback?

Yes. If you have not been selected as a participant for the 2023 Studio Thirteen Future Filmmaker Lab, you will be given the opportunity to schedule a fifteen-minute call with the program administrator who reviewed your application.

How Do I Apply?

Applications are currently closed. Please check for updates. For questions and inquiries please email Director of Engagement and Advancement Robert Ndondo-Lay or call at (651) 644-1912, ext. 4.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Minnesota State Arts Board and Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment logos