Pillars Artist Fellowship
Our fellowship empowers emerging Muslim artists with the resources needed to pursue their greatest aspirations.
Thank you for your interest in the Pillars Artist Fellowship! The application window for the 2022 Fellowship has closed. We look forward to seeing you in next year’s applications, sign up for our newsletter to be one of the first to know about our latest updates.
While Muslims are at the center of much of today’s news and entertainment media, few Muslims are in a position to shape those stories. New research from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative uncovers the unfortunate consequences this lack of access has on the narratives told on screen. As a partner on this research, Pillars Fund is making a commitment to invest in Muslim artists who can shift the lens through which our stories are told to one that is complex, accurate, and honest.
In partnership with actor and activist Riz Ahmed and Left Handed Films, Pillars created the Pillars Artist Fellowship program to empower emerging Muslim writers and directors on their pathways to success. Our fellowship offers participating artists an unrestricted award of $25,000, high-quality one-on-one mentorship, professional development in their field, and active and ongoing community building.
Meet our Advisory Committee
Championing the Pillars Artist Fellows will be an advisory committee of Muslim artists who have been trailblazers in the industry, including Riz Ahmed, Bisha K. Ali, Mahershala Ali, Sana Amanat, Karim Amer, Rosa Attab, Yann Mounir Demange, Lena Khan, Nida Manzoor, Hasan Minhaj, Nijla Mu’min, Jehane Noujaim, Bassam Tariq, and Ramy Youssef.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is eligible for the Pillars Artist Fellowship?
In order to apply for the fellowship, you must meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must be directors or screenwriters who identify as Muslim. Eligible directors have compiled a portfolio with at least two filmmaking work samples, including one short or feature showcasing their directing skills. Eligible screenwriters have compiled a portfolio with at least two complete pilots or feature-length scripts showcasing their writing skills.
- Applicants must be emerging artists. These are artists who are at a point in their career where they’re honing in on their style and have had 0–2 mainstream opportunities (such as being staffed on a major project in a writer’s room).
- Applicants must live in the US or UK (citizenship is not required).
- Applicants must be adults 18 years old or older.
What kind of support will fellows receive?
- Participating artists will receive a minimum unrestricted award of $25,000.
- Participating artists will receive high-quality, one-on-one mentorship and sponsorship and an industry mentor.
- Participating artists will receive professional development in their field from a group of curated experts leading workshops, as well as fireside chats from our prestigious advisory committee.
- The fellowship will last one year and culminate in a capstone assembly where fellows will have the opportunity to share their work with Pillars Artist Fellowship industry partners.
- The fellowship will seek to build a strong, long-term interdisciplinary community between our Artist Fellows, our expert guest lecturers, and our influential advisory committee in order to capitalize on the power of shared messaging, language, and knowledge.
How many fellowships will be available?
In our first year, we will be offering as many as 10 fellowships.
What is the timeline for the fellowship?
Pillars will accept applications for the Pillars Artist Fellowship from July 29 to September 1, 2021. Fellowship recipients will be announced in early 2022, and the fellowship program will run from February to September 2022.