The Emerging Voices Mentorship program, an initiative of the New Orleans Film Society, was created in 2014 and founded on the principle that to create a more diverse storytelling landscape, filmmakers of color in Louisiana need greater access to gatekeepers.

In its inaugural year, the program sought to fill the lack of opportunities for local African-American and Black Diaspora directors to meaningfully connect with industry leaders, expand career opportunities, and to help strengthen the local film community. In 2015, Emerging Voices expanded to include all filmmakers of color based in Louisiana, adding an even more vast and diverse perspective to the program and reflecting the depth and breadth of the state.

Applicants include filmmakers with narrative or documentary projects (shorts, features or web-based), experimental films and music videos in the development/pre-production stage. Once selected, during the annual New Orleans Film Festival, selected filmmakers are paired with a Film Industry leader who acts as a mentor through one-on-one meetings. Mentees also participate in short intensive meetings with other industry professionals during the NOFF Industry Exchange to pitch their projects and build further connections.

The program works to empower the local community as well as to promote the unique perspectives and cultures created in Louisiana to the rest of the country, and the world.

Applications for the 2017 program are now closed.

Emerging Voices is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Endowment for the Arts.