Sundance Institute's Documentary Fund and Awards division is a core element of the DFP, granting between $1 and $2 million per year to support U.S. and international contemporary independent documentary films. With submission deadlines in February and July each year, and other special invitation only opportunities, the Fund reviews 1,700-2,000 proposals annually, and grants about 45-55 projects from filmmakers around the world. When appropriate, select submissions undergo an intensive review process by experts working at the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Center for Transitional Justice, Open Society Foundations and others to inform us on the issues. Granting decisions are informed by recommendations from a committee of film professional and issue area experts. In funding such work, the Sundance Documentary Fund encourages the diverse exchange of ideas that is crucial to fostering an open society and public dialogue about contemporary issues.
Discover the impact of current and past Sundance Documentary Fund projects with the following impact case studies courtesy of BRITDOC:
- BULLY (Sundance Documentary Fund Grant 2010)
- GIVE UP TOMORROW (Sundance Documentary Fund Grant 2008, SDF Grant, Creative Producing Lab 2009, 2010 Documentary Edit and Story Lab)
- INVISIBLE WAR (Sundance Documentary Fund 2012, Sundance Film Festival 2013)
- THE INTERRUPTERS (Sundance Documentary Fund 2010 SDF Grant, Sundance Film Festival 2011)
The Sundance Documentary Fund accepts submissions in three categories.
- Development (up to $20,000): There is no reel required with an application, but clips, teasers, trailers, or images are highly encouraged. A previous work sample is required.
- Production/Post-Production (up to $50,000): Production/Post-production grants provide funds to projects offering approximately 20 to 75 minutes of edited material for the project being proposed. The reel should convey the narrative and aesthetic approach for the final film. A previous sample work must also be included with the application.
- Audience Engagement (up to $20,000): Audience Engagement grants provide previously granted projects funding for strategic audience and community engagement campaigns.
The Sundance Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display:
- Artful and innovative storytelling
- Contemporary relevance
- Originality and feasibility
- Potential for public engagement
The Sundance Documentary Fund is now closed. We are no longer accepting application for the fall 2013 round. If you are interested in applying for funding, please check back in late December for information on our spring 2014 round.
For information on the fund and how to apply, please review the materials on the links below. If you have any outstanding questions after reviewing the materials below, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Proposal Checklist (Development and Production/Post-Production categories)
- Audience Engagement Proposal Checklist (Current Grantees Only)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Fall 2012 Grant Award Recipients
Decisions for the spring 2013 round of funding were announced in July, please visit our press release and join us in supporting these selected artists. Fall 2013 decisions anticipated in December. Please note, we are unable to provide status updates or feedback on specific projects. Unsolicited updates to projects that applied will not be accepted.