Unscripted Lab

Founded 1995

Program Overview

“Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) has been dedicated with a strong commitment to documentary storytelling, since 1995. Documentary filmmaking is a global art form with an emphasis on a critical cultural outlook as we all move forward with the new way in which our entertainment industry is going. Back then when we first launched the RNCI documentary film program – Unscripted Lab, documentaries weren’t a thing, as they are today. Real authentic stories from the perspective of Native and Indigenous voices is what our unscripted lab is all about. Due to the recent movements of Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock, we have a chance for our untapped stories to be seen.”  stated Joanelle Romero, “Being the first Native Indigenous woman filmmaker to be invited to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts Sciences and the first Native Indigenous Filmmaker to be short-listed for an Academy Award for my documentary American Holcoaust: When Its All Over I’ll Still be Indian, I know I will not be the last, here at Red Nation Celebration Institute we leave the ladder down.”

RNCI Unscripted Lab is for early- to mid-career Native and Indigenous nonfiction storytellers, editors, directors and writers. It is held during the Red Nation International Film Festival (worldwide) as a 3 day virtual creative space that provides access to creative executives, experienced producers and veteran documentary filmmakers. Filmmakers work intensively with advisors and staff in a spirit of experimentation in a supportive environment to advance the project. Following the Lab the documentary fellows will have the opportunity to screen their ‘work-in-process’ to pitch to an audience of documentary funders and the general audience.

Program Opens for Submission September 1st, 2023.

Home to the Native Documentary Storyteller
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • NoVo Foundation
  • California Community Foundation
  • National Endowment for Humanities

Support for the The Red Nation Celebration Institute Unscripted Lab

Unscripted Lab is made possible through gifts, grants and sponsorships.

Give your support to Unscripted Lab program.

  • Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles
  • Gavin White Empowerment Fund
  • Joanelle Romero
  • RNCI Board of Directors

RNCI Year-Round Program Calendar

The Red Nation Celebration Institute Programs focus on the specific development of storytellers from Native and Indigenous backgrounds, encompassing feature film and episodic work. Fellows will receive hands-on support from the Institute and advisors, including one-on-one feedback sessions and roundtable discussions.

A look inside our Creative Program Labs and Intensives

to experience more documentaries visit Red Nation Television Network and RedNationFilms

RNIFF Logo Transparent

Celebrating 29 Years of the Native Narrative through Artist Development


Double the Impact


Sign Up Today to receive RNIFF News on Native Cinema

Support the Native Narrative

Creating Systemic Change through Film, Television, New Media and the Arts

Give Today