Next Lens media lab logo in blue and green with arrow leading into the x of next

The Next Lens Media Lab incubates innovative and ambitious documentary producers based in Greater Kalamazoo who are working on short form non-fiction videos. The program aims to create opportunities for emerging and mid-career documentary producers with a priority on stories and voices from communities historically excluded from mainstream media.

Next Lens provides documentary storytellers with resources and mentorship for the completion of a documentary to use in their portfolio, and equips them with access to gear and resources, industry guidance, and local screening and distribution through Public Media Network.

Benefits provided to Next Lens documentary producers:

  • Stipend

  • Funding towards production costs (pre-approved and documented expenses)

  • Access to the Network's media education and training

  • Access to the Network's Community Access Center for production studios, field production equipment, and post-production resources

  • Industry guidance from a network mentor

  • Access to a collaborative and supportive community of content creators and producers

  • Public presentation of your work upon completion of the project


  • A Kalamazoo-area based creative, 18 years of age or older. Preference given for people living in the City of Kalamazoo, City of Galesburg, City of Parchment, Comstock Township, Kalamazoo Township, or Oshtemo Township

  • A content producer with a proven degree of competence in production

  • An individual producer or a creative team of two can apply (stipend will be split between the creative team members)

Project Interest:

  • Documentary projects of all lengths.

  • Thoroughly researched, original concepts

  • Detailed breakdown of budget and various ways the project will maximize use of Public Media Network facilities and resources

  • Specific production timeline leading up to project completion by June 2024.

  • Videos can be in any language. If primary language is not English, the work must use English subtitles.

Stipend & Production Support

  • $2500 stipend provided as an independent contractor

  • up to $2500 for documented and approved production expenses

Application Deadline is December 1, 2023. Apply online