April 1, 2022 – The Digital Storytellers Lab of the Jewish Writers’ Initiative has formally opened the application process for digital media creators to join an eight-month fellowship to kickstart the development of digital audio/visual media exploring Jewish themes. A project of Maimonides Fund, The Lab empowers creators to tell Jewish stories in innovative, digital-first ways. 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.
The Lab will empower US-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 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 Digital Storytellers Lab will also offer artists opportunities to consult with experts on their projects’ unique subject matter. Utilizing first-hand sources, historians, Jewish educators and academics 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 traditions, perspectives, and experiences we each bring to the tent.”
The Lab will select up to twelve storytellers for the first fellowship cohort. Each participant will work with program staff and mentors to create an individualized plan for project development. 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.
“The digital creator world is huge and growing – it’s a new avocation for so many talented people telling so many essential stories. 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 Jewish Writers’ Initiative Digital Storytellers Lab can be submitted here:
About The Jewish Writers’ Initiative:
The Jewish Writers’ Initiative was founded in 2019 by Maimonides Fund and Crystal City
Entertainment as a year-long fellowship supporting the development of film and television
scripts that tell diverse Jewish stories, with the ultimate goal of launching these projects into
the mainstream media marketplace. With the Digital Storytellers Lab, the Initiative expands its
reach to digital media platforms, bringing innovative Jewish stories to new audiences in new
About Maimonides Fund:
Maimonides Fund is a private grantmaking organization that funds in North America and Israel.
The Fund is passionate about supporting projects that help the Jewish people grasp their
common past and play a role in shaping their shared future.