Now accepting applications for Summer 2019

Loading the player...

Call for Applications


The Five College Film Council is now accepting applications for 5C FLAHERTY SUMMER, a week-long intensive summer program for Five College students in partnership with the Flaherty, a nonprofit media arts institution recognized as a leader in its support of documentary and independent film and media. The Application deadline has been extended to February 11, 2019. Details below.

What is the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar?

With a storied history dating back to 1955, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar (aka “The Flaherty Seminar”) is an annual, week-long program devoted to non-fiction film and media. The Flaherty Seminar brings together filmmakers, artists, curators, media professionals, film students, teachers, and enthusiasts for a curated program of films in an intimate, immersive environment. Participants gather for a communal experience that includes housing, meals, social hours, and special events. Each day of the week is organized around at least three screening sessions followed by discussion.

When does the Flaherty Seminar take place?

In 2019 the Flaherty Seminar will be held June 15-21, 2019 at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Each year the seminar is organized by a different programmer. The 2019 programmer, Shai Heredia, is a filmmaker and founder of Experimenta, the international festival for experimental cinema in India. For further information about the Flaherty and the Seminar’s history see 


The 5C FLAHERTY SUMMER program, now in its second year, aims to foster diversity and inclusion in the fields of film and media by creating opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds. We are currently seeking applicants interested in attending the 2019 Flaherty Seminar as part of this program. One student will be selected from each of the five campuses and this 5C cohort will participate in a week-long guided program during the Flaherty Seminar coordinated by a faculty mentor. This year’s 5C faculty mentor will be Elliot Montague, Visiting Lecturer at Amherst College and Smith College.

The student selected to attend from each campus will have their registration fees for the Flaherty Seminar (which covers accommodations and meals for the week, as well as special Five College programming) paid by the 5C Flaherty Summer Program. Student participants will receive a $200 travel stipend and will be responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the Seminar.


The goal of this guided program—qualitatively different from an internship or work experience—is to cultivate learning and networking opportunities for students from constituencies that are underrepresented in leadership positions in film and media, including women, LGBTQ persons, ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, students with financial need, and undocumented students. In choosing an Amherst College student to attend, our selection committee will give particular consideration to applicants who confront multiple barriers to professional advancement in this field.

Preference will be given to FAMS majors and to students who have completed at least one critical studies and one production class in film and media. Students should check with their advisor or FAMS professors if they have any questions about the courses they’ve taken. This program is best suited for students who will be entering their third and fourth year in Fall 2019; returning students in these years will be considered over graduating seniors and first year students.


Students selected to be part of the 5C Flaherty Summer cohort will be required to:

(A) Attend a half-day orientation in Spring 2019, in which they will meet fellow participants and learn more about the Flaherty and what will be expected of them there.

(B) Arrive at Colgate University by 2PM on June 15, 2019 and stay for the full duration of the Seminar, which concludes at noon on June 21, 2019. 

(C) Participate in a guided program of daily lunch and dinner conversations with attending media professionals and filmmakers during the seminar. Additionally, they may be asked to serve as liaisons to next year’s participants during the following school year.

What we are looking for:

We are searching for applicants who have demonstrated passion and inclination for creative and critical work in film and media, with a special interest in nonfiction, and who can integrate themselves respectfully into non-academic venues for discussing nonfiction film and filmmaking. Applicants should demonstrate that they have taken some time to acquaint themselves with the structure and history of the Flaherty Seminar. Applicants should effectively convey reasons why they would like to attend the Flaherty Seminar and also how they feel they can contribute to the event. All attendees are encouraged to participate in discussions and the overall discourse, and we want to know what you can add.

How can Amherst Students Apply?

Please fill out the online application form by February 11, 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out soon after the deadline.



“Before attending the Flaherty, I had absolutely NO idea where I was going. I was studying film, sure, but where was that going to lead me? What am I going to do when I get out of college? The “film industry” can most likely feel closed off to students, especially students of color. What the Flaherty did for me was expose me to the countless number of careers that are sustainable in the path I wish to pursue. During the screenings, I saw films that provoked more thought than any other film I had seen in a long time, I met people who provided more insight into the questions I had that I never had considered before, and most importantly, I learned more about who I want to become in this one week, than I had learned in any class in school.” - ALEX TRAN, UMass Amherst

“In an industry where you see so little of your identity represented, you essentially need to become your own role model (a practice that can be discouraging at times). At the Flaherty however, I not only met women of color working in film (like myself) but witnessed the gathering of a diverse group of thinkers who serve as a representation of their own stories…I have never been more inspired to pursue and create film works after such an intensive experience. - JANAYAH IVY, Smith College

“As a recent Amherst graduate, I have never encountered discussions of film outside of an academic context, and have a hard time even articulating what exactly is my relation to film when faced with confident professionals. However, meeting the wide range of people at the Flaherty (especially during our lunch meetings) I came to realize that so many different paths are possible, and there’s no singular way to relate to film. This unexpectedly helped reaffirm my uncertain position, and gave me confidence to explore a multitude of paths whether it is in writing, curation, making art, or something in between. The ambitious and all-encompassing goals of the Flaherty mean that the seminar strikes an eclectic balance between creative openness and rigorous critique, moving between creator, viewer, curator, insider, outsider with fluid courage—opening up a space in between academia and creation that I have long sought to explore, and giving life to a community I believe can exist nowhere else.” - JINJIN XU, Amherst College

“The Flaherty provides a unique community and film watching experience unlike any other college students would be able to have access to without the financial means for both attending the seminar and travelling to it. Our group of 5 College students consisted of the youngest people at the seminar which makes being able to attend, be exposed to new media and form important networks at an early point in our careers, all the more useful… Being among a familiar group made it a lot easier to navigate the new space amongst so many people I did not know. - HENNA JOSHI, Mount Holyoke College

“When I first arrived to Colgate, I was incredibly intimidated as a burgeoning undergraduate student, surrounded by accomplished academics, artists, and professionals. However, as I had more conversations with attendees—who treated me like a colleague and not a student— I felt a profound change in my attitude… Attending the Flaherty Seminar was not only creatively invigorating, but every conversation I had with an artist, professor, or filmmaker felt like brief moments of mentorship in which I was informed about organizations that I should seek out, and MFA programs that would suit my academic field of interest.” - DOMINIC SANCHEZ, Hampshire College