The Digital Storytellers Lab of the Jewish Writers’ Initiative has formally opened the application process for digital media creators to kickstart the development of narrative digital media exploring Jewish themes. Over the eight-month program, fellows will receive a generous stipend, mentorship and technical and subject-matter expertise to support the development of their projects. Applications are due June 1, 2022.

A project of Maimonides Fund, the Lab will empower U.S.-based digital artists, including social media creators, short-form screenwriters and podcast visionaries, to develop projects that explore Jewish culture, values, spirituality, or history on audio/visual digital media platforms like Youtube, Instagram Reels, TikTok, Webtoon and podcast networks. Proposals for animation, audio-only, live action and mixed media projects are welcome.

The Lab will also offer artists opportunities to consult with experts on their projects’ unique subject matter. Utilizing first-hand sources, historians and educators will help writers realize dynamic and authentic stories.

“We are excited to support a new cohort of storytellers in developing compelling and substantive Jewish stories for online audiences,” said Maimonides Fund President Mark Charendoff. “As new digital media platforms proliferate, we want to support creators in using these spaces to share content that reflects the rich heritage and dynamism of the Jewish people—our shared history, texts, and values as well as the diverse perspectives and experiences we each bring to the tent.”

The Lab will select up to 12 storytellers for the first fellowship cohort. Writers will each receive a stipend of $20,000 to support them throughout the development of their creative venture.

The program is being directed by BimBam creator Sarah Lefton and arts educator Janine Okmin. It is guided by an Advisory Board including Rabbi David Wolpe, producer Jonathan Rubenstein, media acquisitions expert Jennifer Monier-Williams, Tippett Studios’ Corey Rosen, Sundance’s Director of Content Liz Nord, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Producer of International Social Impact Estee Bardanashvili, Emmy-winning writer Jay Bushman and Jewish literature professor and author Jeremy Dauber of Columbia University.

“There’s a huge amount of support for creators out there on the platforms—Youtube, TikTok, podcasts and so on— and in different niche  communities. We are proud to be nurturing creators with Jewish stories to tell across all these platforms,” said Creative Director Sarah Lefton.

Applications to the Digital Storytellers Lab can be submitted here:

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