We are looking for projects that tell bold and important stories.

Yours may be a new voice, a new outlook, or tell a story in a new way through emerging technologies.



The Online Application Period is open.

Applications accepted from October 15, 2019 -December 15, 2019.




Participants can submit up to two projects per round. Projects can include (but are not limited to)

  • virtual reality projects
  • short films
  • feature films
  • documentaries
  • non-narrative works
  • episodic series
  • web series
  • new technologies

Who can apply?

  • Baltimore residents

What do the Incubator Labs offer?

The Bold Voices, New Paradigms Incubator Labs seek to develop unique and groundbreaking works by connecting talented artists and entrepreneurs with industry leaders in film, media, technology, and business for knowledge sharing, meaningful exchanges, and relationship building. The Labs will facilitate the creation of next-generation content and foster successful outcomes by helping Fellows build the best team and providing them with access to the necessary resources.

The program is designed around four components to guide Fellows through the demands of the design, financing, production and marketing stages of project development.


Incubator Labs:

Narrative; Documentary; Immersive Media

Inspired by Pixar’s classic creative process model and the Sundance Development Labs, the Bold Voices, New Paradigms Incubator Labs bring together creative leaders and experienced storytellers, to help Saul Zaentz Fellows identify and solve challenges through candid discussion and structured workshops.

The Lab experience provides participants with a rigorous creative process to further develop their projects with the guidance of established writers, directors, producers and editors. Participants gain perspective and obtain feedback from experienced professionals with formidable knowledge, who have been through the process of creating, producing, and marketing groundbreaking ideas. Each Lab allows participants to present their projects to industry executives, gatekeepers, and decision makers, and creates a space to balance creative vision with critique that can lead to better results.

The Labs encourage innovation, experimentation, and creative risk-taking in order to build momentum and take projects into the next stage of development, potentially leading to packaging and financing.


Mentoring Program




The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund matches Saul Zaentz Fellows with award-winning artists and established professionals in technology, media, business, and the arts. These mentors offer their advice, guidance and practical knowledge, and help each Fellow explore new production and distribution models

Mentees gain a deeper understanding of new directions to push the boundaries of their chosen field, while gaining exposure to the business practices and skills required to succeed. Mentors and Mentees are matched based on expertise, project type, and participant needs.


Development & Production Fund



Open to all SZIF Fellows who participate in the Incubator Labs. The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund will provide seed capital financing for selected projects that demonstrate  groundbreaking ideas in media, filmmaking, sound production, video game content, and new technologies written, created and/or directed by Incubator Fellows.

An investment of this magnitude will change promising opportunities into daring realities, extending the impact that Mr. Zaentz personally made on the film industry during his lifetime.

Eligibility Requirement:
All projects must be developed and produced in Baltimore

Selection Process

Bold Voices, New Paradigms