Docu Work-In-Progress Shorts Lab 2020

Chloe Gbai

Applications Closed

Applications Open: 8/11
Application Deadline: 9/9 9/16, 11:59pm ET
Acceptance Notifications: by 10/13
2020 Program Dates:
10/28, 10/29, 11/12, 11/18, 11/19, 6:30 - 9:30pm ET +
Final Crit: 12/2, 11-2pm and 12/3, 11-2pm ET
Facilitator: Chloe Gbai
Guest for Final Crit: Darius Clark Monroe
Participants: 4-6 accepted filmmakers


DCTV’s Docu Work-In-Progress Shorts Lab supports select filmmakers with their independent documentary short film currently in post-production, providing dedicated feedback and crit-building germane to the editing process.

This year’s Lab will be held online due to the pandemic. The Lab is scheduled and designed with an iterative structure in mind. Docu WIP Lab filmmakers share and workshop each others' initial rough cuts during screening/discussion sessions, providing crucial insight for each other under the guidance of an industry professional. Outside of these sessions, participants edit two new iterations of their rough cut based on the discussions. Participants present a refined cut at the final session, which is a showcase for closing feedback with a special guest.

Past participants include Lisa D’Appolito (Love, Gilda), Yi Chen (First Vote), Katy Scoggin (Flood), and G. Anthony Svatek (.TV). Past facilitators and guests for final crit include Charlotte Cook (Field of Vision), Yance Ford (Strong Island), Kathleen Lingo (The /New York Times' Op-Docs), Maya Mumma (O.J.: Made in America), David Osit (Thank You For Playing), Sierra Pettengill (The Reagan Show), Bernardo Ruiz (Harvest Season), and Lana Wilson (Miss Americana).

Eligibility + Application Details


  • The applicant must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The applicant must be a current DCTV Member. (Applicant may renew or register for Membership on application.)
  • The applicant must be a Director or Editor of the submitted work with full artistic and editorial control of the project.
  • The application must be written by the applicant, not by another member of the team. The applicant must be the person who wishes to attend; we want to hear directly from the applicant.
  • The applicant must be able to attend every session of this lab if accepted.
  • The Lab will be conducted in English; the applicant must be able to speak English, and if the film is in a different language, it must have English subtitles.
  • The project must be a documentary, including and not limited to experimental and interactive media.
  • The project must be in post-production at a rough-cut stage, developed enough to clearly illustrate structure, style, and/or characters.
  • This 2020 Docu WIP Lab is specifically for short films. Each project can be up to 30 minutes in length. The project must be independent and not attached to any commercial or third party entity.
  • Completed films are ineligible.


  • While we understand that filmmaking is a collaborative process, only one participant per project can participate in the lab.
  • All sessions for 2020’s Lab will take place online. Participants may join from anywhere, provided they’re free to attend the scheduled sessions which are during Eastern Standard Time.

Application includes:

  • Our application is online in Submittable, and pulls from The Documentary Core Application with "the aim of fostering greater access and a more equitable and sustainable documentary field."
  • You will need to provide a link to a project sample of up to 10 minutes in length.
  • You can save the application and return to it as often as needed until you are ready to submit.


    Participant selection is based on the quality of work and promise to benefit from the lab. We encourage emerging filmmakers of various backgrounds, abilities, and experience levels to apply, with clear and thoughtful goals that demonstrate potential for a transformed project via this lab.


  • This lab is free of charge to those invited to participate.
  • $20 Application Fee and a DCTV Membership are required to apply. If you're not a current member, you can register for a discounted 1-year membership ($15) when submitting your application.

Lab Details

Program Dates:

    Week 1
    Wed 10/28; 6:30-9:30pm: Intros, Feedback Guidelines, Screen/Discuss Rough Cuts v1
    Thu 10/29; 6:30-9:30pm: Screen/Discuss Rough Cuts v1 cont'd

    Week 2
    Filmmakers work independently; no gathering

    Week 3
    Thu 11/12; 6:30-9:30pm: Progress Updates

    Week 4
    Wed 11/18; 6:30-9:30pm: Screen/Discuss Rough Cuts v2
    Thu 11/19; 6:30-9:30pm: Screen/Discuss Rough Cuts v2 cont'd

    Week 5
    Filmmakers work independently; no gathering

    Week 6
    Wed 12/2 11-2pm: Final Showcase - Screen/Discuss Lab Cuts v2 with Guest Crit
    Thu 12/3 11-2pm: Final Showcase - Screen/Discuss Lab Cuts v2 with Guest Crit cont'd

Facilitator: Chloe Gbai

Chloe Gbai is the Director for the IF/Then Shorts program. IF/Then Shorts identifies and supports original, standalone short documentaries by filmmakers working in and representing their communities.

Chloe joined IF/Then from American Documentary, where, as the POV Shorts and Streaming Producer, she launched POV Shorts, which earned POV its third documentary short Oscar nomination, two News & Doc Emmy nominations and an IDA Awards nomination for Best Short Form Series. She has previously worked at Teen Vogue and Viacom, as well as served on review panels and juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Austin Film Festival, IDA Awards, Black Public Media, Black Harvest Film Festival, and various other film organizations. She is a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, a member-in-residence of the Meerkat Media Collective, and a 2020 Impact Partners Producing Fellow.

Guest for Final Crit: Darius Clark Monroe

Darius Clark Monroe is a writer, producer, and director from Houston, Texas living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He’s known for a range of works, both documentary and fiction, that delve into the interior spaces of our existence. His films grapple with the innumerable experiences and environments that shape our psyche and behavior, oftentimes investigating fear, vulnerability, spirituality and media (archival and present day) through varied visual techniques and instruments. He most recently world premiered Racquet, a four-part documentary quadtych, at the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Monroe wrote and directed for the Peabody award winning HBO series Random Acts of Flyness. He’s the director of Black 14, an archival social study examining cognitive dissonance via media coverage of a 1969 racial protest at the University of Wyoming. Black 14 is the recipient of a 2019 National Magazine Award and has screened at Sundance, Tribeca, True/False, BlackStar, Chicago and Camden amongst others. His autobiographical film Evolution of a Criminal was awarded the IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit award and Cinema Eye Honor. Past projects have been featured on Topic, Time, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, HBO, Netflix, and PBS. Monroe received his master's degree in film direction from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated with honors from University of Houston's School of Communication.