The Documentary Fund is currently closed.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has two grant cycles per year, with decisions being made in the summer and winter. The Fund application window is currently closed.
|Schedule||Grant-making decisions normally occur two times per year, in the summer and winter. Applications must be received approximately six months prior to a decision.
|Size of Grant Pool||30 to 40 projects per year|
The Documentary Fund accepts feature-length (52 minutes or more) nonfiction projects. The fund is open to projects and film teams from around the world.
The Fund supports independent nonfiction films with budgets under $1,000,000 (one million) USD.
Creative and editorial control must be held by members of the films’ key creative teams.
For United States productions, we prioritize films led by artists from historically underrepresented communities. We define these as communities that have been historically marginalized by virtue of their ability, citizenship status, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Projects that focus on historically underrepresented communities must have a key creative from the community or with deep ties to the community in a power holding position represented on the team.
For international productions, we prioritize films led by artists from Africa, China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. Indigenous artists globally and artists from the above regions who are living in the diaspora are also prioritized.
Applicants may submit at any production phase from development through post-production. All proposals must convey some vision for a finished film. Projects that have not yet secured characters or subjects, are unable to articulate a story or structure, or are unable to explain the project's driving central question are discouraged. We are unable to consider proposals for story research. You do not need any prior funding or a fiscal sponsor in order to apply.
|What we do not fund||
Fiction films, short films (please see our Documentary Short Film Fund call for information on grants for shorts), series, NGO films, advocacy films, educational films, or branded content.We also tend not to fund purely historical or biographical films unless they show clear contemporary relevance or innovation in form.
Once your film premieres, we are unable to provide post-production funding support. We therefore encourage applicants to apply at least six months before an anticipated premiere. Picture-locked cuts are also ineligible for post-production funding.
Please consult our proposal checklist for required questions.
Applicants will also be required to upload a line-item budget that covers the entire project from development to finish.
View a sample budget: PDF or Excel. (Source: Robert Bahar)
|Application assistance for applicants with disabilities||
The Sundance Documentary Film Program is committed to providing application assistance to applicants who require support with the application process. Directors or the key creative on a project who self-identify as artists who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a disability, or are living with a mental illness may request assistance at any stage of the application process. Support includes a limited amount of funding for the artist to hire someone for ASL interpretation and translation, or transcription (i.e. CART or similar real-time captioning) and editing (i.e. copy editor) purposes, as well as to gather materials required to submit a grant application. This is not meant to be used to hire a professional grant writer, but rather to support an artist with a disability to submit their own grant application. To request assistance and for additional information please email email@example.com.
Development (up to $25,000):
Production/Post-production (up to $50,000):
Production grants provide funds to projects that are able to deliver to us at least 10 minutes of edited material. At least 20 minutes are required for post-production grants. The reel should convey the narrative and aesthetic approach for the final film.