Overview of Opportunities


At the Institute’s core is a commitment to champion the creation of unique work by individual storytellers. Through ticketed events, open applications, and by invitation, we offer workshops, residential Labs, Grants, mentorships with accomplished professionals, and ongoing support to advance the development and production of independent work.

We encourage artists from around the world to apply for our Programs

Documentary Film

The Documentary Film Program supports the development, production and presentation of nonfiction films around the world. The Documentary Fund provides $1M-$2M in non-recoupable financing annually to documentary filmmakers selected through an open application process. The Program invites Grantees to participate in the Documentary Edit and Story Lab, Music and Sound Design Lab for Documentary Film, and provides ongoing advice and resources throughout the filmmaking process. Learn More

Feature Film

The January Screenwriters Lab is the point of entry for filmmakers seeking support from our Feature Film Program. Twelve filmmakers, selected through an open application process, attend the five-day writer’s workshop at the Sundance Resort. . Following the Screenwriters Lab, the Program provides a wide range of Labs, and strategic and financial support for participating filmmakers.

In addition to the January Screenwriters Lab, the Program is open to filmmakers through the NHK Screenwriters Workshop in Japan, the Rawi Middle East Screenwriters Lab in Jordan, and the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship. Learn More

Film Music

Each summer, Sundance Institute holds Music and Sound Design Labs for composers and filmmakers working on feature and documentary films. Selected through an open application process, composers gain first-hand experience composing for film while in residence at Skywalker Ranch.

The Program’s Day Labs provide opportunities for more composers and directors to hear from leaders in the field and gain insights into the art and business of scoring film.  Learn More

New Frontier

New Frontier at Sundance Institute is a dynamic initiative that identifies and fosters independent artists working at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology. Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival has provided the highest level of curation in the emerging field, showcasing fiction, non-fiction and hybrid storytelling with installations, performances and films. The New Frontier Story Lab provides a space for the creative development of this work. Participation in the Lab and the Festival is by invitation only. Learn More

Native American and Indigenous Film

Sundance Institute's commitment to supporting Native American artists is woven throughout our history. From Labs to Fellowships to screenings and gatherings around the world, the Program’s offerings are designed in response to the specific needs of Native storytellers. We encourage filmmakers to apply for the Time Warner Native Producing Fellowship. Learn More


The centerpiece of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program is the Theatre Lab, , a three-week play development retreat supporting the creation of new work by playwrights, directors, composers and librettists who are selected through an open application process.

With a focus on supporting individual artists throughout their careers, the Program extends invitations to Theatre Lab alumni to participate in retreats for playwrights and directors, Labs for ensemble and musical work, and to access creative and financial resources.

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Launched in 2005, the Lab is led by the Royal Film Commission of Jordan (RFC) and managed by Deema Azar, in consultation with Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program, under the direction of Michelle Satter. The Lab provides an opportunity for filmmakers from the region to develop their work under the guidance of accomplished Creative Advisors. Learn More

Creative Producing

The Creative Producing Initiative encompasses a year-round series of Labs, Fellowships, and events focusing not only on nurturing the next generation of independent producers, but renewing the community of veteran producers dedicated to sustaining the vibrancy and vitality of independent film. Learn More

Episodic Storytelling

Over the past five years, we have witnessed an explosion in the opportunities available for writers developing episodic content for cable and online platforms. We have seen audiences and critics embrace the bold vision and complex characters that are thriving in cable drama and comedy. The Internet has become both a place to pilot stories for traditional media and to create entertainment content for the growing audience watching on mobile devices. Learn More


The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the centerpiece of the Theatre Program, is a three-week play development retreat designed to support the creation of new work by playwrights, directors, composers and librettists, and to provide a place where that work can be effectively mentored and challenged. Learn More

Women Filmmakers

Sundance Institute, together with Women in Film-LA and a group of allied organizations in the field of women and media, works to foster gender equality in American independent cinema. Resources for project development, securing financing, and finding audiences are offered to women filmmakers who are alumnae of Institute Programs. Learn More

Diverse Storytellers

Our Diversity Initiative builds upon the Institute’s commitment to develop and celebrate voices beyond the mainstream. Working across all of the Institute’s Programs, this work reaches into new communities of storytellers and audiences across regions, genres, ethnicities, gender and orientation. Learn More


Open to all artists, and held around the country, Workshops and Day Labs offer participants premium resources and expert advice on topics ranging from screenwriting to digital distribution. These intensive versions of our Lab experience provide opportunities for artists to be inspired in their storytelling and empowered to advance their projects to the next phase.

New Frontier Flash Labs

The Flash Lab is designed expand participants' creative practices, to further their contribution to the evolution of story, and to spark innovation within their organizations. With a focus on the art of story and new technologies available, participants will:

  • Explore field defining projects,
  • Discuss the technological and cultural shifts that enabled these projects,
  • Learn about emerging creative practices and tools,
  • And be in direct conversation with New Frontier pioneers.

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Composers Day Lab

Through a series of informative conversations, presentations, and networking opportunities with renowned composers and industry professionals, ComposersLab offers film composers & directos valuable insight into the process of creating music for film. Learn More


ShortsLabs are half- and day-long workshops designed to empower the next wave of emerging artists with first-hand insights into the basics of developing a script, making the film, and getting it seen by audiences.

Our goal is to empower the next wave of emerging artists by giving you first-hand insight into the basics of developing your idea, to making their film, to getting it seen by audiences. Learn More


Our programs empower independent filmmakers to maintain control of marketing and distribution, and to connect with innovative creative strategies that can amplify each film’s reach and revenue potential. Learn More