Sundance Ignite

About Sundance Ignite

Sundance Ignite identifies and supports new voices and talent from the next generation of filmmakers and fosters fresh audiences for independent storytelling. The program offers individuals ages 18-25 the Ignite Ticket Package, an exclusive chance to see the newest films at the Sundance Film Festival; the Ignite Fellows Program, a competitive and year-round Festival and industry experience; and Sundance Ignite On Tour, a traveling component designed to engage with students and emerging filmmakers.

Ignite Ticket Package

The Sundance Film Festival Ignite Ticket Package is a reduced-cost ticket package open to ages 18 to 25. It includes screening tickets, a Festival credential, and access to events that are specially curated for emerging filmmakers, which connect them with Festival filmmakers and the film industry, help them explore the evolving landscape of financing and distribution, introduce them to Sundance Institute artist programs and services, and provide opportunities for networking. Learn More

Sundance Ignite Fellows Program

Applications to become a 2019 Sundance Ignite Fellow have now closed. Check out all the films from the Ignite Film Challenge

Check back for the announcement of our 2019 fellows!

In partnership with Adobe Project 1324, the yearlong Sundance Ignite Fellowship is open to 18-to-24-year-old emerging documentary and narrative filmmakers. It kicks off with a free trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where fellows are paired with a Sundance alum mentor and attend special Ignite events. For the rest of the year, fellows work with their mentors, attend select Sundance Institute programs, enjoy eligibility for internships, and receive additional creative and professional development opportunities as they develop their craft. They also receive a complimentary Adobe Creative Cloud subscription from Project 1324.

2018 Ignite Fellows

These are the fifteen fellows selected for the 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellowship:

  • Amri Rigby portrait

    Amri Rigby

    Amri Rigby is a filmmaker born and raised in Decatur, Georgia. He is currently majoring in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at the University of Southern California’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy. Once he discovered his passion for storytelling after taking an animation class, he decided to pursue filmmaking. Amri aims to create films that engage audiences by inspiring, uplifting and empowering.

  • Andrea Porras-Madero\

    Andrea Porras-Madero

    Andrea Porras-Madero was born and raised in Mexico. She moved to California at age 14, where she began making films. She is currently a double major in Film Production and Latin American Studies at the University of Southern California.

  • Ayo Akingbade portrait

    Ayo Akingbade

    Artist, filmmaker Ayo Akingbade was born and raised in Hackney, East London. She experiments with a range of media, including combining analogue techniques with digital processes. In 2017, her project Tower XYZ received a Special Mention Award at International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, she obtained a film degree from London College of Communication and participated in Ji.hlava’s Academy in the Czech Republic.

  • Carol Nguyen portrait

    Carol Nguyen

    Carol Nguyen is a 19-year-old filmmaker based in Toronto. Her work explores culture, identity and family, topics that heavily define her understanding of the world. Through her career, Carol aims to tackle gender equality and diversity in film. Today, Carol is continuing her passion for filmmaking at Concordia University in Montreal.

  • Crystal Kayiza portrait

    Crystal Kayiza

    Crystal Kayiza grew-up in Oklahoma and is now a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker and Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Documentary Studies and Production, Crystal spent two years at the ACLU working on criminalization of poverty issues. Her documentary work and writing has been featured in The Nation, Scalawag Magazine and OkayAfrica. She received a Heartland Emmy Award in 2017 for her film All That Remains, which profiles Boley, Oklahoma, one of the nation's last all-Black towns.

  • Gerardo Coello Escalante portrait

    Gerardo Coello Escalante

    Gerardo Coello Escalante is a Mexican filmmaker. He was born and raised in Mexico City where he attended various filmmaking and theater workshops and programs. In 2013, he moved to New York and attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in December 2016. Gerardo currently works on independent films and documentaries while writing and directing his own work in between projects.

  • Matthew Puccini portrait

    Matthew Puccini

    Matthew Puccini is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. His first film, Solo, won the King Award for Screenwriting at NYU’s First Run Film Festival. His second short, The Mess He Made, premiered at SXSW and was a finalist for this year’s Iris Prize. Matthew is a member of the 2017 New York Film Festival Artist Academy, a recipient of the 2017 Richie Jackson Artist Fellowship and an Artist in Residence at The Spruceton Inn.

  • Matty Crawford portrait

    Matty Crawford

    Matty Crawford is a writer/director and recent graduate from the UK. His short films have screened at BAFTA-recognised festivals, collecting a number of awards such as Best Director Award at the Kodak/Nahemi Competition and the New Talent Award at this year’s BFI Future Film Festival. He has recently finished production on a new short film funded by the Arts Council England, as his next short film LOVE HOTEL premieres at London Short Film Festival in 2018.

  • Mohamed Touahria portrait

    Mohamed Touahria

    Mohamed Touahria is an Algerian filmmaker studying English at Djelfa University in Algeria. He has made three short films and participated in short film festivals across north Africa.

  • Paloma Lopez portrait

    Paloma Lopez

    Paloma Lopez is a filmmaker from Caracas, Venezuela. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2017, with her senior thesis film Singer. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is an assistant to an independent film director. Her passion lies in the visual storytelling aspect of documentary photography, which sparked her love for film.

  • Sindha Agha portrait

    Sindha Agha

    Sindha Agha is a Pakistani-American independent filmmaker who grew-up in a small town in Illinois and is now based in Los Angeles. Sindha experiments with documentary & narrative genres to create candid, intimate films that illustrate how social forces shape deeply personal experiences. She is dedicated to helping people understand one another better, keen on dialetheism, married to sincerity and has it out for shame.

  • Sky Bruno portrait

    Sky Bruno

    Sky Bruno is a filmmaker based in Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi. He is currently studying Digital Cinema at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa's Academy for Creative Media. His latest short-doc SHAPE was an official selection at the 2017 Honolulu Surf Film Festival and the 2017 ʻOhina Short Film Showcase. With his passion for filmmaking, Sky hopes to create opportunities in Hawaiʻi and help develop original voices in the future generations of storytellers.

  • Sydney Butler portrait

    Sidney Butler

    Sidney Butler is an aspiring screenwriter from Houston, Texas. Her television pilot, Stella with the World on Her Shoulders, was one of two pilots produced by NYU’s highly selective Advanced Television Course, and was fully funded by the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. Her writing has been published in Interview, The Light Leaks and on Medium. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is the writer’s PA for the Untitled Grey’s Anatomy spinoff.

  • Terrance Daye portrait

    Terrance Daye

    Terrance Daye is an award winning poet and filmmaker from Long Island, New York. Terrance’s creative work reimagines traditional representations of black male identity and invests strongly in destigmatizing mental illness within the black community. Terrance received his Bachelor’s from Morehouse College and is pursuing his MFA in filmmaking from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Terrance’s most recent film project, The Colored Hospital: A Visual Poem was shortlisted for the 44th Student Academy Awards.

  • Varun Chopra portrait

    Varun Chopra

    Born and raised in New Delhi, Varun Chopra graduated from Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television where he focused on stories of common people with aspects of social justice. He was the recipient of the SFTV Dean’s Scholarship. His short films have screened at various International film festivals. He was featured in the Los Angeles Times among a team of diverse filmmakers on a discussion on diversity in Hollywood. Varun works in Los Angeles as a freelance director and is currently editing a television show currently streaming on Netflix. He is one of the ten fellows of Visual Communication's Armed with a Camera fellowship for 2017-2018.

Sundance Ignite on Tour

Sundance Ignite on Tour travels with films and filmmakers to college campuses, community centers, and arts organizations for screenings, discussions, Short Film Masterclasses, workshops, and case studies. For more information about how to bring Sundance Ignite to your area, please email


Sundance Ignite is supported by Adobe Project 1324; Arison Arts Foundation; The Birth of a Nation Fellowship, founded by the creative and producing teams of the film; Syracuse University; and Joshua M. Cohen.

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