Black Public Media's annual Open Call is our chance to celebrate the complexity of the Black experience through story. This year, we will support projects in two key ways: production funding and participation in our 360 Incubator+ (a workshopping opportunity with peers in the field).  


SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

We are calling for broadcast-length documentary (1-2 hours) and short (30 mins or less, nonfiction or scripted) projects that are currently in pre-production, production, or post-production and intended for public media distribution. We accept proposals for pilot episodes of a broadcast length or shorts limited series. The limited series must be 3 to 5 episodes. We welcome a range of subjects, creative approaches and perspectives as long as the work promotes discourse and engages audiences around a critical social issue. Our current content priorities are:

Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Health Disparities
Art & Culture
Black History

Projects will receive funding as follows: One broadcast-length project will receive up to $100,000.  One short project will receive up to $50,000.  In addition, five producing teams with broadcast-length projects will be accepted into BPM's 360 Incubator+, a hybrid professional development program that culminates with PitchBLACK, a pitching forum during which 360 Incubator+ fellows compete for up to $150,000 in production funding.

Please note that all Black Public Media (BPM) funding awards are licensing agreements for public media distribution.


To be eligible for the Open Call:

• The applicant must (a) be the project’s producer or director, (b) be a US citizen, (c) have a minimum of three years professional producing and/or directing experience, or have a senior producer attached to the project;

• Key creative personnel (producer, director, writer, or editor) must include a person of color;

• The proposed content must be either a short (scripted or nonfiction) or broadcast-length documentary for public media distribution;

• The project must be completed within 36 months of receiving the award;

• The applicant must hold artistic, budgetary and editorial control, and must own the copyright of the proposed project;

• Projects or production entities that are foreign-based, owned or controlled are NOT eligible. Neither are industrial, promotional or student films.


Our deadlines are strict. We highly recommend that you start your application in plenty of time and "save" to complete your submission over time.  As soon as the application window closes, a panel of media professionals across the industry will evaluate the proposals in a two-tier review process. The deadline for this year's Open Call is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 11:59 PM EST.


The review panel will evaluate each proposal using the following guidelines: 

• The subject/story meets BPM’s mission to engage audiences around a critical social issue.

• The synopsis demonstrates a compelling narrative that is unique and original

• The treatment clearly describes the creative approach (use of visuals and audio), structure, and style.

• The team’s production experience will support the execution of the project

• The budget and production timeline matches the scope of the project presented

• The video sample demonstrates skill, creativity and ability of production team to execute the proposed project

• The overall application is a professional proposal that demonstrates project readiness.

Each proposal will be scored using the guidelines above. The highest scoring shorts and broadcast projects will receive production funding to advance their project. The second highest rated broadcast-length projects will be accepted into the 360 Incubator+ and PitchBLACK, to further develop their pitch for funding.

Notification of Awards: DECEMBER 2022

Applicants will be notified if their project advances to the next stage. Additional materials may be requested at this point. Applicants who are being considered for the 360 Incubator+ will be required to do a brief interview. Once an acceptance is offered, the applicant has three days to confirm their participation. (See 360 Incubator+ schedule below.)

All funding awards and 360 Incubator+ acceptances will be announced in December 2022.


Projects selected for funding will receive a BPM funding contract. The contract is not a grant but a licensing agreement in which BPM is granted exclusive or shared domestic public television distribution rights as well as the exclusive or shared right to package, schedule and promote the program through public broadcasting. BPM makes no expressed or implied commitment to financially support a project until an agreement is signed by both the applicant and BPM. As a condition of the funding contract, producers must agree to BPM's standard terms and conditions, including the following:

• For broadcast projects, assignment to BPM of public television broadcast rights for four (4) years over national public television, off-air record rights, and internet streaming rights;

• For web projects only, assignment to BPM of streaming rights for four (4) years;

• Funding and/or Presentation credit to BPM and Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB);

• Net revenues must be shared with BPM from the exercise of subsidiary or ancillary rights over a 15-year period;

• Financial books and records related to the production must be maintained for three (3) years following the receipt of funds or net revenues by the producers.

Producers must comply with all equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination laws and policies, payola/plugola requirements and other applicable federal and state rules and regulations.


Are you interested in submitting a project for consideration, but have questions that aren't addressed in our FAQs? BPM Director of Programs Denise Greene is now offering opportunities for a limited time to interested makers during the week of Sept. 12-16. Consultations are for 10 minutes each and are available on a first-come-first-served basis.


Sign up hours are:

Tues., Sept. 13 −1pm to 2:45pm

Wed., Sept. 14 −5pm-6:45pm

Sat., Sept. 17 −12pm-1:45pm


Calls are scheduled for 10 mins. each.


Visit Denise's Calendly page to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to make those dates/times, please send an email to with either your questions or your available time/date and phone number for a call and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Open Call, 360 Incubator+ and PitchBLACK are supported in part by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Netflix and the MacArthur Foundation