Archives

About the Archives & Collection

Independent storytellers advance and challenge cultural discourse by creating stories that explore and document the world around us. We are passionate about preserving and sharing these stories for generations to come.

From press kits to posters, films to photos, and scripts to scores, the Sundance Institute Archives & Collection inspires and educates through preservation and access to seminal work of independent artists and the unique history of the organization. By sharing the history of independent storytelling, the Archives & Collection provides an opportunity for discovery and dialogue around creative work and its impact on contemporary culture.

1.5

MILLION

DIGITAL PHOTOS

100K

PHOTOS, SLIDES, NEGATIVES & CONTACT SHEETS

300K

SCRIPTS, PRESS KITS, POSTERS & PRINTED MATERIAL

500K+

DIGITAL VIDEO FILES

5K+

HOURS OF VIDEO ON 3/4", BETA, VHS & MINI DV

2,500,000+

ASSETS IN THE ARCHIVES

To address the specific preservation risks posed to independent film, Sundance Institute partnered with the UCLA Film & Television Archive to form the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA in 1997. The Collection at UCLA is home to hundreds of films, and we actively endeavor to rescue those that are at risk and identify titles in need of restoration. Our efforts have brought renewed attention to titles such as Hoop Dreams, Desert Hearts, Reservoir Dogs, El Mariachi, and Paris Is Burning, among many others.

714

FILMS PRESERVED
IN THE COLLECTION

1547

VHS TAPES & DVDS IN UCLA'S POWELL LIBRARY ARCHIVE RESEARCH AND STUDY CENTER

Contact Us

For more information, please email us at archives@sundance.org.

Explore Our History and Supported Artists

Ever wonder when the Shorts Program and World Cinema sections were introduced at the Festival, if Heathers and sex, lies, and videotape premiered the same year, how many Festival staffers there were in 1992, or what Sundance film was the first Western movie to be shown on North Korean television? Brush up on your Festival trivia and check out our Sundance Film Festival history page.

Access The Archives

We thrive on sharing our history and the stories of our artists.

Requests and Licensing

To request photos, videos, or information, please complete our request form.

From the Vault to the Screen
  • "From the Collection" Screenings

    Whether it's through our Festivals, labs, or grants, we're always excited about the work supported by the Institute and want it to be seen for years to come. We celebrate the history of independent film through our From the Collection screenings at the Sundance Film Festival, which showcase favorites from past Festivals, and we aspire to share this history and bring attention to independent stories both old and new to audiences around the world.
  • Loan Program and Restoration Projects

    Many titles held in the Sundance Collection at UCLA have prints and DCPs available for loan. As we identify titles in need and as resources permit, we work closely with our UCLA colleagues to bring new life to films through restoration. Several restoration projects over the years have included Paris Is Burning, Desert Hearts, Hoop Dreams, and River of Grass. Many of these restoration projects then become available for loan and often find renewed interest in distribution. Some of the many titles available for loan are below.
    Poster for The Living End
    The Living End
    Poster for Mi Vida Loca
    Mi Vida Loca
    Poster for Four Sheets to the Wind
    Four Sheets to the Wind
    Poster for But I'm a Cheerleader
    But I'm a Cheerleader
    Poster for The Brother from Another Planet
    The Brother from Another Planet
    Poster for Down to the Bone
    Down to the Bone
    Poster for Love and Basketball
    Love and Basketball
    Poster for Smoke Signals
    Smoke Signals
    Poster for Paris is Burning
    Paris is Burning
    Poster for Me and You and Everyone We Know
    Me and You and Everyone We Know
    Poster for Living in Oblivion
    Living in Oblivion
    Poster for Wet Hot American Summer
    Wet Hot American Summer
    Poster for Requiem for a Dream
    Requiem for a Dream
    Poster for Hoop Dreams
    Hoop Dreams
    Poster for House Party
    House Party

Preserve Your Work

The work you create is vital to both the history of independent storytelling and the heritage of Sundance Institute, and we strive to protect and preserve your stories. In addition to providing a safe and secure home for your film, we offer tips and guidelines to help ensure your work is not lost, no matter the medium or platform you use.

Please help us protect your stories by taking advantage of our services and contacting our knowledgeable staff. Digital preservation is ever-evolving, so always feel free to ask questions and share your findings with us at archives@sundance.org.

Preservation Services

Preserve Your Place in the History of Independent Storytelling

Independent films often fall victim to loss or damage because of changing ownership, poor storage, closing labs, or neglect. As a result, quality prints can become difficult or impossible to find, even for films made as recently as a few years ago.

If your film screened at the Sundance Film Festival or was supported by any of the Institute's artist development programs, you can preserve it in the Sundance Collection at UCLA, which will protect your film from damage and loss and ensure that it’ll stand the test of time.

What You Can Do Today

Establish the whereabouts and condition of your negative and other irreplaceable elements.

Deposit your film. Preserve your final conformed film elements, along with prints and access copies, free of charge at the Sundance Collection at UCLA, where they’ll be properly maintained and safeguarded in UCLA’s state-of-the-art archive.

Donate a copy. Help us build the most comprehensive access library for the study of independent cinema by donating a Blu-ray, DVD, or .mov to the Sundance Collection at UCLA for use in UCLA's Powell Library Archive Research and Study Center.

To get started, email us at archives@sundance.org.

Depositing Your Film FAQ

  • Do I still own the rights? Yes, if you deposit negatives or other pre-print materials, you retain all rights and can access your assets.
  • What if I have a distributor? We work with many distribution companies to ensure that their titles are safeguarded. We encourage you to start the conversation with your distributor to make sure your film is protected.
  • Where does the print go? Prints are housed and maintained at the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s state-of-the-art vaults.
  • Will the print be used? On rare occasions, prints may be used for educational and public screenings with prior approval.
  • Will I be able to use the print for screenings? Yes, the Archive is willing to accommodate requests when certain projection standards are met, but remember that frequently borrowing your print defeats the purpose of preservation and could contribute to its deterioration.
  • If my film is in the collection, will it be restored? Resources are limited and we identify titles for restoration on a case-by-case basis.
  • Can anyone borrow the film’s video or access copy? No, access copies are only available for on-site viewing at UCLA’s Powell Library.
  • Can you cover the cost of shipping my elements? We usually can; please contact us.
Digital Preservation Guidelines

Follow these simple but crucial tips for keeping your work safe!

Copies, copies, copies

Save a minimum of two copies of your content, with a third as your working files.

Store copies of your work separately

Keep 'em separated

Whether you choose a cloud- or drive-based storage solution, ensure your copies are stored on geographically separate servers.

Store them securely in a service you trust

Be open-minded

Consider open-source tools. Dependence on third-party developers may jeopardize long-term access to critical software. Self-sustainability is key.

Put a label on it

Pick a naming convention, and label all media, files, and projects accurately and consistently.

Document everything

Generate robust metadata as well as detailed, human-readable documentation of your work.

Perform regular checks for hardware and digital integrity

Double-check

Guard against digital degradation by performing fixity checks on your files and analyzing your hardware’s integrity.

Exercise these processes to ensure your work is available for years to come

Join the conversation

There’s still a lot we don’t know about preserving our digital heritage. Ask questions and share your findings: archives@sundance.org.

Ask questions and share tips with us

Support Us

Help us protect the history of storytelling, champion independent voices, and inspire the stories of tomorrow. Support the Archives & Collection by becoming a member of Sundance Circle.