Feature Film Program


Labs

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute Lab Program was created in response to the shared conviction that the budding independent film movement had the potential for far-reaching creative and cultural impact if given adequate resources and a place to foster self-expression and a sense of community. Thirty years later, under Michelle Satter’s continued leadership, the FFP’s network of Labs continues to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for filmmakers to incubate their most audacious ideas in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and failure is regarded as a valuable step in a project’s creative evolution.

Screenwriters Lab
Application Apply here. Deadline: May 3, 2016
Dates June 25-30, 2016 (invitation only) & January 13-18, 2017 (open application)
Size of Lab 12 projects each lab
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
Eligibility US & International Filmmakers; The Screenwriters Lab supports writers and writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film. If you have previously had more than one narrative feature produced, you are not eligible to apply.
Description

The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer's workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material. (Read about recent Lab Fellow Ryan Koo's experience here.)

Still have questions? Read our FAQ.

Apply now

Directors Lab
Application By Invitation
Dates May 30-June 23, 2016
Size of Lab 8 Projects each lab
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
Eligibility There is no open application to the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have already been supported through a previous Screenwriters Lab.
Description During the month-long Directors Lab, eight Fellows work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors and professional production crews, rehearsing, shooting, and editing key scenes from their scripts. Through this intense, hands-on process, the Fellows workshop scenes, collaborate with actors, and find a visual language for their film in an atmosphere where experimentation and risk-taking is encouraged. Directors Lab Fellows also join in the week-long Screenwriters Lab with five additional projects, participating in individualized story sessions under the guidance of established screenwriters. 2015 Directors Lab participants Livi Newman and Christopher Makoto Yogi recently contributed pieces to Filmmaker Magazine about their experience.
Creative Producing Lab & Fellowship
Application Now closed. Will reopen in Fall of 2016
Deadline February 9, 2016 at 5 p.m. PST
Dates

Lab — August 1-5, 2016

Summit — August 5-8, 2016

Festival — January 19-29, 2017

Size of Fellowship 5 projects
Location Sundance Mountain Resort & Park City, Utah
Eligibility Applicants must have produced at least one short or feature-length narrative or documentary film, but no more than two narrative features total as lead creative producer. This does not include co, associate, or executive producer credits. Applicants must have a completed, legally-optioned, scripted, narrative project in hand with a director attached to the project. The applying producer may not be the writer or director of the submitted project and must live in the United States, although the project may be filmed internationally.
Giving Back Should you be selected to participate in the Creative Producing Fellowship, you will be asked to continue the spirit of giving back. Since securing funding for the Institute's programs is a consistent challenge, we request that Lab Alumni whose projects are produced, contribute to the Institute's work to support new generations of emerging filmmakers. Projects supported by the Creative Producing Fellowship are asked to contribute 0.25% of their production budget calculated after the first $1 million (e.g. if your film is produced for $1.2 million, the fee due to the Institute would be $500). Additionally, Lab Alumni are asked to recognize the Fellowship with the credit, "Developed with the assistance of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Creative Producing Fellowship." Any revenue that is designated to Sundance Institute is allocated to the Feature Film Program and is used on an annual basis to provide critical support for the Labs. Your ability to give back really makes a difference.
Description A year-long program designed to nurture emerging producers with project-specific support through the Creative Producing Lab, Creative Producing Summit, Sundance Film Festival attendance, $10,000 grant support, year-round mentorship from two industry mentors, and ongoing support from Sundance Institute Staff. The Program is designed to hone emerging producers’ creative instincts and evolve their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of their next feature film project.

Read more about the Creative Producing Initiatives for information on how to apply.

Editing Intensive
Application By Invitation
Dates June 8-16, 2016
Size of Fellowship 2 projects
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
Eligibility There is no open application to the Editing Intensive, which is by invitation only. Filmmakers must be in post-production on their first or second narrative feature film to be eligible for consideration.
Description

During this week-long program, which takes place during the June Directors Lab, the director and editor team of two films will work with a dedicated Editing Advisor and the other Creative Advisors at the Lab on their picture edit. The program will be most valuable to a project that has completed a first cut but still has significant time allotted in the schedule before picture lock.

The 2015 inaugural Editing Intensive Fellows were Anna Rose Holmer (co-writer/director) and Saela Davis (co-writer/editor) with their first feature, The Fits. The Fits had its world premiere at the 2015 Venice Film Festival and U.S. premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired the film for distribution.

Still have questions? Read our FAQ >>
  1. How do I apply?
    Applications for the 2017 January Screenwriters lab are available at applications2.sundance.org starting March 15, 2016, and are due by 6:00pm PT on May 3, 2016.
  2. Am I eligible for the January Screenwriters Lab?
    The Screenwriters Lab is for filmmakers making their first or second narrative feature films; unfortunately, if you have already made two or more features, you are not eligible for the Screenwriters Lab. If you are a director developing a script that you did not write, you may apply for the Screenwriters Lab with the screenwriter as a team.
  3. How do I get into the Directors Lab?
    Because the Directors Lab is usually populated by projects that have been supported through a previous Screenwriters Lab, there is no open application process for the Directors Lab. Application to the January Screenwriters Lab is the best way to put your project into the pipeline of eventual consideration for the Directors Lab.
  4. How many scripts can I apply with?
    You may submit up to three projects, but we encourage you to choose one project that is your priority in terms of moving forward. Please note that for each script, you must complete a separate application, and submit a separate application fee.
  5. I have a project I want to submit for the Screenwriters Lab, but it is still a treatment. If I don't think I will be able to have a draft in screenplay format in time to submit, can I submit my treatment for consideration?
    No. We need to receive a completed draft of a screenplay in order to consider your project for the Screenwriters Lab. This does not mean the final draft; however, we do ask that the script is in standard format.
  6. Can I reapply with the same script next year?
    Under certain circumstances, yes. We will consider re-applications with the same script only if you have completed significant revisions.
  7. What's the difference between the January Screenwriters Lab and the International January Screenwriters Lab?
    The January Screenwriters Lab includes international filmmakers alongside US-based artists. However, there are separate applications for each. If you are based in the U.S., regardless of your citizenship, or if you're an American citizen living outside the U.S., you should use the online application called "January Screenwriters Lab" (not "International"). If you are not an American citizen and you are based in a country other than the US, then you should use the online application called "International January Screenwriters Lab". The application window for all applicants is March 15 – May 3.
  8. I have written a script and want Sundance to produce it. Is that possible?
    No. Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization. We do not produce or finance films. Rather, our Screenwriters and Directors Labs provide filmmakers with opportunities to develop their material in a workshop environment.
  9. What kind of grants / support / production help can Sundance offer our movie? Or that I can apply for?
    Sundance Institute Feature Film Program grants are reserved for artists already supported by the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. The only grant for which there is a public application is the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship. Applications for this annual grant are accepted through the online application available from mid-June through early September.
  10. Should I have my industry contacts call with references?
    No. Our final decision is based on the material and talent alone. Take comfort in the fact that your work will speak for itself!
  11. What are the Lab dates?
    The 2017 January Screenwriters Lab will take place January 13-18, 2017.
  12. When and where is the Directors Lab?
    The Directors Lab is held each June, usually during the first three and a half weeks of June. Like the Screenwriters Labs, the Directors Lab is held at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Sundance, Utah.
  13. Is it possible to get an extension? What’s the final final deadline?
    No, it’s not possible to get an extension. You must complete the online portion of your application by 6:00PM PT on May 3, 2016.
  14. If invited to submit in my full length screenplay, how should I send it?
    You will be asked to submit a .pdf file, with instructions provided on how to upload the file with your second round notifcation.
  15. How long/short is too long/short for a script?
    While there is no “correct length”, the average script is between 90 – 120 pages. In most cases, if your script is significantly shorter or longer than that range, we will suggest you do more revisions before submitting it for consideration.
  16. How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?
    All Lab notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not.
  17. I haven’t received my notification yet, but all my friends have! What’s wrong?? When will I know if I’ve made it to the next round?
    Our notifications are made on a rolling basis. You will hear whether you have proceeded to the second round of the application process by August 15 at the latest. Final Lab decisions will be made by December 15.
  18. Can I deliver my application in person?
    We no longer accept materials in person as our entire application process is now available online. The next application will open on March 15, 2016.
  19. I don't have much experience. Does that affect my chances at the labs?
    Absolutely not. Sundance Institute seeks to foster exciting emerging voices, regardless of professional film experience.
  20. Do you consider scripts written in a language other than English?
    Although we will support scripts that will eventually be produced in a language other than English, your script must be translated into English in order to be considered .
  21. Can I submit a script based on a novel?
    Yes, we will consider scripts based on prior work, as long as you have secured the underlying rights to the material.
  22. How complete should the screenplay be?
    Sundance Institute considers scripts at various stages of development, but you must have a full, completed screenplay in order to be considered.
  23. What does the application include?
    The application includes the following components:
    • A cover letter (750 word limit):
      Please introduce yourself and the project. There are no strict requirements for this letter, but we'd like to get a brief idea of who you are, what your script is about, and how you think the Lab process could be helpful to you.
    • An artistic statement (1000 word limit):
      Please describe your creative vision for the material, and give us a sense of where you are in the creative process. Here's an example of the type of information we're looking for: What is your personal connection to the material? What do you want an audience to take away from your film? How do you envision the realization of this script in terms of story, character, tone, and/or visual style? Is there a budget level you have in mind, and who is the audience you most want to reach? Why are you passionate about this story? If this is a resubmission of material we've considered previously, how has the material changed or transformed since we last read it?
    • A logline: a 1-2 sentence description of your project.
    • A synopsis (1000 word limit): a brief summary of your project.
    • A bio (up to three for each project, 500 word limit)
    • The first five pages of your screenplay. Please do not submit more than the first five pages.
    • A directorial sample (if applicable)
  24. Would my ideas be protected?
    Yes, Sundance Institute does not share or distribute any materials.
  25. Do you accept scripts that have been submitted elsewhere?
    Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been through other writers workshops or programs.
  26. How should I address my cover letter? Michelle Satter? Sundance Staff? To Whom It May Concern?
    Please address your cover letter "To Whom It May Concern."
  27. What does the program cost?
    Aside from an application fee, participation in all of our Labs (including travel, food and accommodations) is completely free.
  28. Does Sundance own my screenplay?
    No. All Lab Fellows must own or have approval from the project owner to participate in FFP Programs. In return for participation in a Screenwriters Lab, fellows are obligated to sign an agreement stipulating that (a) they will make a contribution to Sundance of ¼% of their film's final budget in excess of $1,000,000. This number may increase to ½ or ¾% through participation in a Directors Lab and/or Sundance-affiliated grant support exceeding $10,000 (b) Sundance will receive 1% of 100% of the film's net receipts, and (c) Sundance will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles.

Still don't see your question answered here? Email featurefilmprogram@sundance.org with further questions.


OPEN APPLICATION FELLOWSHIPS

Explore grants and fellowships, upcoming or currently open, to independent filmmakers:

January Screenwriters Lab
Application Apply here. Deadline: May 3, 2016
Dates June 25-30, 2016 (invitation only) & January 13-18, 2017 (open application)
Size of Lab 12 projects each lab
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
Eligibility US & International Filmmakers; The Screenwriters Lab supports writers and writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film. If you have previously had more than one narrative feature produced, you are not eligible to apply.
Description The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer's workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material. (Read about recent Lab Fellow Ryan Koo's experience here.)

Apply now

Drishyam-Sundance Screenwriters Lab​ ​(India)
Application APPLY HERE - Deadline: November 10
Dates March 2016 (To Be Announced)
Size of Lab 8 Projects
Location Jodhpur, India
Eligibility Independent Screenwriters from India or diaspora working on their first or second feature screenplay.
Description Modeled on the Institute’s esteemed Screenwriters Lab in Utah, the Lab is a five-day writer's workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film screenplays in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. The Lab is centered around one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, where screenwriting fellows receive guidance from a diverse and accomplished roster of established filmmakers. Creative Advisors attending previous Sundance Screenwriters Labs in India have included Guillermo Arriaga, Shekhar Kapur, Kasi Lemmons, Asif Kapadia, Bill Wheeler, Marti Noxon, Sabrina Dhawan, Carlos Cuaron, Erik Jendresen, Habib Faisal and Joshua Marston.

apply now

Creative Producing Lab & Fellowship
Application Apply Here
Deadline February 9, 2016 at 5 p.m. PST
Dates

Lab — July 25 - July 29, 2016

Summit — July 29 - Aug 1, 2016

Festival — Jan 19 - Jan 29, 2017

Size of Fellowship 5 projects
Location Sundance Mountain Resort & Park City, Utah
Eligibility Applicants must have produced at least one short or feature-length narrative or documentary film, but no more than two narrative features total as lead creative producer. This does not include co, associate, or executive producer credits. Applicants must have a completed, legally-optioned, scripted, narrative project in hand with a director attached to the project. The applying producer may not be the writer or director of the submitted project and must live in the United States, although the project may be filmed internationally.
Giving Back Should you be selected to participate in the Creative Producing Fellowship, you will be asked to continue the spirit of giving back. Since securing funding for the Institute's programs is a consistent challenge, we request that Lab Alumni whose projects are produced, contribute to the Institute's work to support new generations of emerging filmmakers. Projects supported by the Creative Producing Fellowship are asked to contribute 0.25% of their production budget calculated after the first $1 million (e.g. if your film is produced for $1.2 million, the fee due to the Institute would be $500). Additionally, Lab Alumni are asked to recognize the Fellowship with the credit, "Developed with the assistance of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Creative Producing Fellowship." Any revenue that is designated to Sundance Institute is allocated to the Feature Film Program and is used on an annual basis to provide critical support for the Labs. Your ability to give back really makes a difference.
Description A year-long program designed to nurture emerging producers with project-specific support through the Creative Producing Lab, Creative Producing Summit, Sundance Film Festival attendance, $10,000 grant support, year-round mentorship from two industry mentors, and ongoing support from Sundance Institute Staff. The Program is designed to hone emerging producers’ creative instincts and evolve their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of their next feature film project.

Read more about the Creative Producing Initiatives for information on how to apply.

Still have questions? Read our FAQ.

Sundance Institute/Asian American Feature Film Fellowship

The Asian American Feature Film Fellowship aims to further the presence of Asian American voices in independent film as an extension of Sundance Institute's ongoing commitment to support a diverse group of emerging artists. Made possible in part by the A3 Foundation, the Fellowship will support an Asian American writer (or writer-director) on the development of their feature screenplay through participation in a Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, or Creative Producing Summit. See below for additional information regarding the Screenwriters Lab, the Screenwriters Intensive or the Creative Producing Summit.

Writers or writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film and of Asian-American descent or with significant themes and/or characters relating to the Asian American experience in their screenplay are eligible to apply.

Applications for the 2017 Fellowship have been extended until June 16, 2016. Please proceed to the application instructions here. (If you have already applied to the open application for the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab, which closed on May 3, 2016, and selected Yes, when asked if you are applying for the Sundance Asian American Feature Film Fellowship on the first page of the application form, you should not re-apply. Your previous application will automatically be considered for the 2017 Asian American Fellowship and possible inclusion in the Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, or Creative Producing Summit.)

Read about recent Asian American Fellow Eliza Lee's experience here.

If you have questions regarding the Fellowship or application, please consult our FAQ. Still have questions? Please email us at AAFellowship@Sundance.org.

Application Appy Here Application Extension May 26 - June 16, 2016 (6:00pm PST)
Eligibility Writers or writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film and of Asian-American descent or with significant themes and/or characters relating to the Asian American experience in their screenplay are eligible to apply. If you have already applied to the open application for the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab, which closed on May 3, 2016, and selected Yes, when asked if you are applying for the Sundance Asian American Feature Film Fellowship on the first page of the application form, you should not re-apply. Your previous application will automatically be considered for the 2017 Asian American Fellowship.
Lab Dates You will be selected to participate in one of the following:
January 13-18, 2017 (January Screenwriters Lab)
March 2017 (Screenwriters Intensive)
August 4-7, 2017 (Creative Producing Summit)
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah (January Screenwriters Lab)
Los Angeles, California (Screenwriters Intensive)
Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah (Creative Producing Summit)

Apply Now

Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Latino Fellowship

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Latino Fellowship will support one U.S.-based Latino writer or writer/director through participation in either the Sundance Screenwriters Lab (at the Sundance Resort in Utah) or the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive held each spring in Los Angeles. In addition, the Fellow will receive a small unrestricted grant in support of their work and ongoing creative and tactical support from FFP staff. The Sundance Institute Latino Artists Initiative is supported by Time Warner Foundation.

In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be of Latino descent, based primarily in the United States, and must be developing a first or second narrative feature screenplay. In order to be considered for the Latino Fellowship, artists must submit their script via the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab application. The application will be open March 15 - May 3, 2016.

Apply now

Inquiries about the fellowship may be directed to latinofellowship@sundance.org.

Rawi Screenwriters Lab (Jordan)
Application Application open thru June 15. Apply now
Dates Fall 2015
Size of Lab 6-8 Projects
Location Jordan
Eligibility Independent screenwriters from the MENA (Middle East - North Africa) region working on their first or second narrative feature screenplay.
Description Launched in 2005, the Lab is a joint initiative with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan. Modeled on the Institute’s venerable Screenwriters Lab, Rawi (“storyteller” in Arabic) provides an opportunity for filmmakers from the region to develop their screenplays under the guidance of accomplished Creative Advisors during an intensive 5-day program.

Apply now

Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship

To support the development of screenplays with science or technology themes, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide two different opportunities for screenwriters through a Commissioning Grant or a Fellowship. Both provide a cash award to support further development of a screenplay and to retain science advisors, along with overall creative and strategic feedback throughout development. Only one of each is awarded each year.

The application for the 2016 Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship is now closed.

The application for the 2017 Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship will open in late summer/early fall of 2016.


FFP FUND: GRANTS & FELLOWSHIPS

Every year, Sundance Institute provides over $400,000 in financial support to Feature Film Program Alumni through a robust program of fellowships and direct artist granting designed to give Lab-supported projects momentum at critical junctures in their development, pre-production, post-production and distribution/marketing stages. These fellowships and grants are funded through a group of partnerships with very generous foundations, film industry companies and individuals committed to the work of sustaining artists and advancing their work along their entire journey to connect with audiences. The Feature Film Program staff team works together with our partners to make these strategic decisions considering impact, timing, urgency and quality of work as key criteria.

FilmTwo Initiative and Fellowship

FilmTwo is a specialized artist development program dedicated to supporting filmmakers who are working to get their second narrative features made. Over our history, we’ve observed the myriad of particular challenges, both creative and tactical, that independent filmmakers encounter when developing and making their second film. After many years of championing emerging filmmakers, the Feature Film Program is uniquely positioned to offer an intensive, customized program specifically designed for the second-time filmmaker, for whom there is little designated support in the industry at large.

FilmTwo will support four to five writer/directors or writers collaborating with a director, with priority given to women and artists from underrepresented communities. Filmmakers will be selected in December 2015, with artists sourced from the 2016 January Screenwriters Lab submissions pool.

FilmTwo Fellows will have access to a customized support track based on their individual needs, which will include:

  • Granting – Each FilmTwo Fellow will receive a development grant of $5,000.
  • Screenwriters Intensive – Fellows will be invited to participate in a two-day workshop at Sundance Institute’s Los Angeles offices in Early Spring 2016, which will include a dedicated writing intensive with esteemed screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury (Nashville) and a day of one-on-one meetings. Workshop activities will directly address the challenges of making a second feature. For those Fellows who live outside of the Los Angeles area, a travel stipend will be offered to offset direct costs to the artist.
  • Project Support Continuum – FFP staff will provide Fellows with year-round customized creative and tactical support, including feedback on screenplay drafts and rough cuts, assistance in securing resources, advice on festival and release strategies, and strategic introductions and letters of recommendation to other support programs and potential funders and collaborators.

In addition to these services, FilmTwo Fellows also will be invited to participate in various FFP Labs and activities on an individualized basis. Each FilmTwo Fellow will participate in at least one (but not all) of the following opportunities:

  • Sundance Screenwriters Lab (Sundance, UT)
  • Creative Producing Summit (Sundance, UT)
  • Catalyst Initiative (Sundance, UT)
  • Women’s Financing Intensive (New York or Los Angeles)

Eligibility

  • Applicants must have had one previous narrative feature produced as a writer or writer/director.
  • Applicants must be developing a next narrative feature screenplay, ideally with an early draft completed.
  • Applicants must be based in the U.S.
  • Alumni of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab will be considered for the FilmTwo Initiative with a second film, though if selected for FilmTwo, they will not participate in the Screenwriters Lab again as part of the fellowship.
  • Filmmakers who have already submitted a screenplay for their second film to the January Screenwriters Lab will automatically be considered for the FilmTwo Initiative as well.

Submissions are no longer being accepted.

For more information, please email filmtwo@sundance.org.

Time Warner Fellowship

The Time Warner Fellowship Program was established as a way for Time Warner to support emerging and diverse artists selected from Feature Film Screenwriters and Directors Lab fellows. The grant provides up to $6,000 to support artists whose work uniquely positions and advances the concept of storytelling. The Time Warner Fellows are chosen for the uniqueness and diversity of the project's voice and narrative, and the timeliness of the story and its perspective. These artists will be developing projects that highlight the role of storytelling in specific aspects of the creative process, show its importance in personal vision and perspective, and present it as a central component in embracing the diversity of our common experience. Past Time Warner Fellows include Malik Vitthal and Ismet Prcic (Imperial Dreams), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Dee Rees (Pariah), Andrew MacLean (On the Ice), Elgin James (Little Birds), and Cherien Dabis (May In The Summer). The 2014 Time Warner Fellow is Angelica Nwandu with her project Night Comes On.

Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship

To support the development of screenplays with science or technology themes, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide opportunities for both emerging and established filmmakers through granting and fellowships. Established in 2005, the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant is an annual cash award for a science- or technology-related project that is at an early stage, such as full treatment or early screenplay draft. Additionally, one Fellowship is awarded annually to an emerging screenwriter to support the ongoing development of a narrative, feature-length screenplay with science or technology themes. Learn more about the Sloan initiative.

The application for the 2016 Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship is now closed. The application for the 2017 Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship will open in late summer/early fall of 2016.

Sundance/Sloan Grant Application FAQ

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE / RT FEATURES FELLOWSHIP

The Sundance Institute / RT Features Fellowship is presented to a Directors Lab Fellow in recognition of their unique voice and vision. Following the Labs, the Fellowship enables the director to focus on moving their feature project forward with tailored support from Sundance staff and advisors on both creative and strategic fronts. RT Features is an internationally recognized feature film production company based in Brazil which supports the development, production and financing of both Brazilian and international work. This year’s RT Features Fellow is Geremy Jasper (Patti Cake$). Previous Fellows include Meredith Danluck (State Like Sleep) and Ariel Kleiman (Partisan).

Dolby Family Sound Fellowship

The Dolby Family Sound Fellowship provides a range of post-production resources to allow the fellowship recipient to fully realize the creative potential of the film's sound design. This fellowship opportunity provides a range of post-production resources to allow the fellowship recipient to fully realize the creative potential of the film's sound design. In 2014, Mike Cahill (I Origins) became the inaugural Fellow. The 2015 Fellowship was awarded to Rodrigo Garcia (Last Days in the Desert). The 2016 Fellowship was awarded to Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople).

Sundance Institute / NHK Award

In 1996, the Sundance Institute/NHK Award was established by Sundance Institute in partnership with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) to celebrate 100 years of cinema and to honor and support emerging independent filmmakers whose originality, talent, and vision contributes significantly to the future of world cinema.

One international filmmaker is selected each year and commemorated with an announcement at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for creative and strategic meetings at the festival with established filmmakers, and guidance by FFP staff throughout the life of the project.

2010 winner Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis).

Recipient of the 2015 Sundance Institute/NHK Award: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre / Mustang

Other films which have been supported by the Sundance Institute/NHK Award include: Mark Elijah Rosenberg's Ad Inexplorata (United States), Cherien Dabis’s May in the Summer (Palestine), Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Elena (Russia), Cruz Angeles' Don't Let Me Drown (U.S.), Gyorgi Palfi's Taxidermia (Hungary), Rodrigo Moreno's El Custodio (Argentina), Lucrecia Martel's La Ciénaga (Argentina), Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's Whisky (Uruguay), and Walter Salles' Central Station (Brazil). Made early in these directors' careers, each of these films were instrumental in launching the work of emerging filmmakers in their respective countries.

Sundance Institute/Asian American Feature Film Fellowship

The Asian American Feature Film Fellowship aims to further the presence of Asian American voices in independent film as an extension of Sundance Institute's ongoing commitment to support a diverse group of emerging artists. Made possible in part by the A3 Foundation, the Fellowship will support an Asian American writer (or writer-director) on the development of their feature screenplay through participation in a Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, or Creative Producing Summit. See below for additional information regarding the Screenwriters Lab, the Screenwriters Intensive or the Creative Producing Summit.

Writers or writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film and of Asian-American descent or with significant themes and/or characters relating to the Asian American experience in their screenplay are eligible to apply.

Applications for the 2017 Fellowship have been extended until June 16, 2016. Please proceed to the application instructions here. (If you have already applied to the open application for the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab, which closed on May 3, 2016, and selected Yes, when asked if you are applying for the Sundance Asian American Feature Film Fellowship on the first page of the application form, you should not re-apply. Your previous application will automatically be considered for the 2017 Asian American Fellowship and possible inclusion in the Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, or Creative Producing Summit.)

Read about recent Asian American Fellow Eliza Lee's experience here.

If you have questions regarding the Fellowship or application, please consult our FAQ. Still have questions? Please email us at AAFellowship@Sundance.org.

Application Appy Here Application Extension May 26 - June 16, 2016 (6:00pm PST)
Eligibility Writers or writer/directors developing their first or second narrative feature film and of Asian-American descent or with significant themes and/or characters relating to the Asian American experience in their screenplay are eligible to apply. If you have already applied to the open application for the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab, which closed on May 3, 2016, and selected Yes, when asked if you are applying for the Sundance Asian American Feature Film Fellowship on the first page of the application form, you should not re-apply. Your previous application will automatically be considered for the 2017 Asian American Fellowship.
Lab Dates You will be selected to participate in one of the following:
January 13-18, 2017 (January Screenwriters Lab)
March 2017 (Screenwriters Intensive)
August 4-7, 2017 (Creative Producing Summit)
Location Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah (January Screenwriters Lab)
Los Angeles, California (Screenwriters Intensive)
Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah (Creative Producing Summit)

Apply Now

Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award

Each year, the Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award recognizes and supports 4 emerging independent filmmakers working outside the United States. Winning filmmakers each receive a cash award of $10,000 and attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for a specially curated five-day program, which includes targeted creative and industry meetings, screenings and panels.

Following the festival, Feature Film Program staff and creative advisors provide ongoing creative and strategic support, which may also include the opportunity to participate in one of the Sundance Institute Creative Labs in Screenwriting, Directing, Music and Sound Design, and Producing.

In its relatively short history, the award has provided the crucial support to allow 9 films to complete production, with 4 more poised to start production in 2015.

Past award-winners include, Talya Lavie’s Zero Motivation (Israel), which received the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan (Australia), Tobias Lindholm's A War (Denmark), Dominga Sotomayor’s Late To Die Young (Chile), and Jonas Carpignano's Mediterranea (Italy).

Recipients of the 2015 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award:

Haifaa Al Mansour, Be Safe I Love You (Saudi Arabia)
K’naan, The Poet (Somalia)
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Luxembourg (Ukraine)
Oskar Sulowski, Rosebuds (Poland/Germany)

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE FEATURE FILM PROGRAM LATINO FELLOWSHIP

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Latino Fellowship will support one U.S.-based Latino writer or writer/director through participation in either the Sundance Screenwriters Lab (at the Sundance Resort in Utah) or the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive held each spring in Los Angeles. In addition, the Fellow will receive a small unrestricted grant in support of their work and ongoing creative and tactical support from FFP staff. The Sundance Institute Latino Artists Initiative is supported by Time Warner Foundation.

In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be of Latino descent, based primarily in the United States, and must be developing a first or second narrative feature screenplay.

Applications for the 2017 Fellowship are no longer being accepted. Inquiries about the fellowship may be directed to latinofellowship@sundance.org.

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE PRODUCER AWARDS

The Sundance Institute Producer Awards are $10,000 grants awarded to producers with films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in both fiction and non-fiction categories. The awards are presented annually during the festival at the Producers Lunch where a key note speech is given by a prominent member of the independent producing community. The 2016 key note was delivered by producing team Pamela Koffler & Christine Vachon (Carol, Still Alice, Boys Don't Cry). To read the key note address, click here.

The 2016 Narrative Producer Award went to Adele Romanski & Sara Murphy (Morris From America), and the 2016 inaugural Documentary Producer Award went to Julie Goldman (Life, Animated).

Maryland Film Fellowship

Presented in partnership with the Maryland Film Office, the Fellowship provides a Lab Fellow with a $10,000 bridge grant as a means to move his or her project forward during the crucial phases of advanced development and pre-production. The 2014 Maryland Film Fellows are Jeremiah Zagar and Dan Kitrosser (We the Animals) and Karrie Crouse and Will Joines (Dust). Past Maryland Film Fellows include Jyson McLean and Ian Hendrie (Mercy Road), Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Jody Lee Lipes (Confederacy), Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her) and Tanya Hamilton, whose film Night Catches Us premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers Grant

The Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant was established to support the advancement of talented women filmmakers as they focus on the next crucial steps of their filmmaking process. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation provides a $5,000 grant to be awarded annually by the Sundance Institute to a filmmaker coming out of the Feature Film Program's June Directors Lab. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the memory of the late writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly.

The 2013 Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmaker Fellow is Meredith Danluck (State Like Sleep). Previous recipients include Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance), Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me) and Dee Rees (Pariah).

LYNN AUERBACH SCREENWRITING FELLOWSHIP

As Associate Director of the Institute's Feature Film Program, Lynn Auerbach made a profound difference in the lives of the many screenwriters and filmmakers who came to know her. To honor her memory, this Fellowship provides concentrated support to one screenwriter being supported by the Feature Film Program. The Auerbach Fellow receives a cash stipend, dedicated yearlong mentorship from two Screenwriting Advisors, and a produced reading of her or his screenplay. The 2014 Lynn Auerbach fellow is Ashlee Page (Archive). Past Lynn Auerbach fellows include Ray Tintori (Cabal), Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Ismet Prcic and Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams) James Ponsoldt (Refresh, Refresh) Jonathan Wysocki (All Fall Down) Keith Davis (The American People) Jake Mahaffy (Free in Deed), Myna Joseph (My Favorite Nightmare), and Victoria Mahoney (Yelling to the Sky).

Mark Silverman Producing Fellow

Created in honor of indie producer Mark Silverman, whose credits included the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing, Raising Arizona, and Blood Simple, The Mark Silverman Honor is awarded to an emerging producer or producing team selected for the Creative Producing Fellowship. The 2015 Mark Silverman fellows are Blake Pickens and Stephen Love Jr (Bexar County).

Zygmunt & Audrey Wilf Foundation Award

The Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award is presented to a Feature Film Directors Lab Fellow in recognition of the filmmaker's unique voice and talent. The Award provides a cash grant to the filmmaker to help provide momentum and support in moving their feature film project forward. Past award recipients include Fellipe Barbosa (Casa Grande), Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance), Ry Russo Young and Lena Dunham (Nobody Walks), Carson Mell (Ajax), and Carlo Mirabella Davis (On Evil), Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams) and Jyson McLean & Ian Hendrie (Mercy Road). The most recent award recipients are Bart Layton (American Animals), Peter Vack (www.RachelOrmont.com) and Ryan Koo (Amateur).

Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship

In memory of Sally Menke's artistry and love of mentoring, Sundance Institute created the Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship, to support an emerging narrative editor in furthering their craft, expanding their artistic community and providing momentum to their editing career.

Selected annually, the Sally Menke Editing Fellow will work as an Editor at the Sundance Institute June Directors Lab, focusing on editing the workshop scenes of two directors selected for the Lab. The Fellow will also have the year-round opportunity to work with two established editors as mentors.

The Sally Menke Editing Fellowship is designed to support an emerging narrative editor who has edited at least one narrative film (no more than four), and any number of shorts, documentary films, industrial films, or webisodes. Additionally, the ideal candidate is committed to continuing a career in editing, passionate about the creative process and is open to exploration and experimentation in the editing room. The 2015 Sally Menke Editing Fellow is Erica Freed Marker. Past recipients of the Editing Fellowship include Julia Bloch in 2011, Debbie Berman in 2012, Joseph Krings in 2013, Alex O'Flinn in 2014.

The 2016 deadline for Sally Menke Fellowship applications has passed. Sally Menke Fellowship applications are considered by invitation or recommendation only and the selection process for 2017 applicants will begin next February. For more information, please contact Carlos Garza at carlos_garza@sundance.org.


International Work

International Screenwriters Labs bring the Institute’s Lab model to countries around the world. Working with local and regional partner organizations, we identify emerging filmmaking movements that are in need of developing creative and strategic infrastructures. Our Labs and other support are developed in direct response to the specific needs of these communities and filmmakers. After seeding Screenwriters Labs in Brazil, Mexico and Central Europe, we are currently running Labs in Jordan, Turkey, India and Japan.

The Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs invite international filmmakers from all regions of the world to develop their work in residence at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. Each year, approximately one-third of the fellows selected for the Utah-based Labs come from outside the U.S. For both Fellows and Advisors, the Lab experience is deeply enriched by the presence of artists and projects representing the personal and cultural histories of filmmaking voices from around the world.

Between all the programs, FFP has supported international artists from over sixty countries making their first and second feature films, including:

Guillermo del Toro Mexico
Alfonso Cuaron Mexico
Ritesh Batra India
Braulio Mantovani Brazil
Rama Burshtein Israel
So Young Kim South Korea
Walter Salles Brazil
Lynn Ramsay UK
Andrea Arnold UK
Haifaa Al Mansour Saudi Arabia
Hany Abu-Assad Palestine
Andrey Zvyagintsev Russia
ITALY | SUNDANCE SCREENWRITERS WORKSHOP (EUROPE)
Application Not currently accepting applications.
Dates July 8-11, 2015
Size of Lab 8 Projects
Location Capalbio, Italy
Eligibility Independent Screenwriters from Europe working on their first or second feature screenplay.
Description Sundance Institute and Capalbio Cinema will partner on the inaugural Italy | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Workshop, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers in Europe. Modeled on the Institute’s renowned Screenwriters Lab in Utah, the workshop is a four-day program designed to give independent screenwriters a fully immersive space to work intensively on their first or second feature film scripts. The Lab will be hosted July 8-11 at the 22nd Capalbio International Film Festival; founded with the creative direction of Michelangelo Antonioni, the festival has long been a showcase for the next generation of cinematic talent from around the world.
Rawi Screenwriters Lab (Jordan)
Application Not currently accepting applications.
Dates Fall 2015
Size of Lab 6-8 Projects
Location Jordan
Eligibility Independent screenwriters from the MENA (Middle East - North Africa) region working on their first or second narrative feature screenplay.
Description Launched in 2005, the Lab is a joint initiative with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan. Modeled on the Institute’s venerable Screenwriters Lab, Rawi (“storyteller” in Arabic) provides an opportunity for filmmakers from the region to develop their screenplays under the guidance of accomplished Creative Advisors during an intensive 5-day program.
!F / Sundance Screenwriting Lab (Turkey- Greece)
Application Not currently accepting applications.
Dates May 7-12, 2015
Size of Lab 4-6 Projects
Location Istanbul
Eligibility Independent Screenwriters from Turkey and Greece working on their first or second feature screenplay.
Description Now in its fifth year, the !F-Sundance Screenwriters Lab has evolved to include three Turkish screenwriting fellows joined by two fellows from Greece. In recent years, we’ve seen bold and compelling filmmaking from both countries, and in the years ahead, we hope to encourage a convergence of creative dialogue between these two neighboring independent film communities.
Drishyam-Sundance Screenwriters Lab​ ​(India)
Application Not currently accepting applications.
Dates March 2016 (To Be Announced)
Size of Lab 8 Projects
Location Jodhpur, India
Eligibility Independent Screenwriters from India or diaspora working on their first or second feature screenplay.
Description Modeled on the Institute’s esteemed Screenwriters Lab in Utah, the Lab is a five-day writer's workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film screenplays in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. The Lab is centered around one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, where screenwriting fellows receive guidance from a diverse and accomplished roster of established filmmakers. Creative Advisors attending previous Sundance Screenwriters Labs in India have included Guillermo Arriaga, Shekhar Kapur, Kasi Lemmons, Asif Kapadia, Bill Wheeler, Marti Noxon, Sabrina Dhawan, Carlos Cuaron, Erik Jendresen, Habib Faisal and Joshua Marston.
NHK Screenwriting Workshop (Japan)
Application Not currently accepting applications.
Dates To be announced
Size of Lab 3 Projects
Location Tokyo
Eligibility Independent screenwriters working on their first or second feature screenplay
Description A new collaboration with longtime partner NHK, this screenwriting workshop takes place each summer in Tokyo. In its inaugural year, screenwriter and veteran advisor at the Directors Lab, Joan Tewkesbury (Nashville), crafted a three-day program for three promising Japanese filmmakers. Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Chloe) designed the curriculum for the 2013 edition, and Bill Wheeler (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Hoax) led this year’s workshop.

Ongoing Support

Mentoring, Connections, Advocacy

In an increasingly complex landscape for independent films, we recognize the need for sustained support for filmmakers through every phase of the filmmaking process. In keeping with the Institute's commitment to provide long-term assistance to our alumni following participation in a Lab, the Feature Film Program provides access to a customized suite of support designed to help filmmakers realize the promise of their project and to offer strategies and resources to help the project reach its audience. In addition to ongoing creative and strategic support, the FFP offers access to a range of Sundance Institute's signature programs and initiatives:

Screenplay Reading Series

A live reading of a work-in-progress screenplay can play an essential part in a writer's developmental process. It often takes hearing a screenplay read by actors to see how the characters come to life and to see which scenes play well and which are problematic, as well as to experience live how the structure of the screenplay builds the story or where it doesn’t engage the audience. Each year, up to six work-in-progress screenplays are given staged readings by an ensemble of professional actors in New York and Los Angeles. The scripts are chosen from screenplays developed at the Screenwriters and Directors Labs and represent a further stage of examination and development. Click here for a full list of participants.

The Screenplay Reading Series is presented in association with Writers Guild of America, West. If you are based in New York or Los Angeles and would like to be notified of upcoming readings, please send your full name, email address, and any professional affiliation to featurefilmprogram@sundance.org

Rough-Cut Screening Initiative

The Feature Film Program organizes rough-cut screenings for Lab-supported films during the critical post-production phase. Along with FFP staff members, Creative Advisors gather in Los Angeles and New York to watch cuts of a film and offer creative feedback in scheduled individual meetings with the director. The FFP often organizes several successive rough-cut screenings for a film throughout the post-production phase.

As with the Screenplay Reading Series, the Rough-Cut Screening Initiative is reserved for projects that have gone through the Screenwriters and Directors Labs.

Catalyst

Launched in 2013, Sundance Institute’s Catalyst Initiative connects forward-thinking investors with the world of independent film, with the intention of envisioning film finance in a new light. The invitation-only Catalyst Forum, held annually at the Sundance Mountain Resort, brings together select projects developed at the Institute’s Labs or by its alumni artists, and culturally engaged financiers to spur new paths to production. Over three days, the program delves into the risks and rewards of film investing through case studies, round table discussions, seminars with industry, special screenings and artist conversations. Project presentations, individually scheduled meetings, and informal social gatherings allow investors to interface directly with filmmakers, top advisors, and Sundance program leadership. The goal is to foster a meaningful dialogue and community that opens new paths to production for original stories to be told.

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#ArtistServices

ArtistServices helps alumni answer the question “what happens after I’ve made my movie?” Our programs empower independent filmmakers to maintain creative control of their distribution, amplifying their reach and revenue potential in the process. Through an unprecedented collection of deals, partnerships, strategy, and resources, ArtistServices gives every Institute-supported film robust access to best-in-class digital distribution deals, creative funding tactics, and marketing support.

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Advice for Applicants

The Labs of the Feature Film Program are designed to give aspiring independent artists the skills and knowledge they need to develop their craft and advance their projects. While the specific criteria for participation differs across our various programs, for all of our initiatives we are seeking passionate, bold, risk-taking artists compelled to see their vision realized from script to audience engagement. We value filmmakers’ personal connection to the material, clarity of vision, and commitment to a rigorous creative process.


Support for the Feature Film Program

Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by The Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; RT Features; Time Warner Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Lincoln Motor Company; Red Crown Productions; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; HP; Steve Bing; Jeanne Donovan Fisher; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Microsoft; The Rockefeller Foundation; NHK Enterprises, Inc.; National Endowment for the Arts; 3311 Productions; The Ammon Foundation; Firestone / von Winterfeldt Family Fund; Ford Foundation; Philip Fung-A3 Foundation; SAGIndie; Grazka Taylor; The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; Directors Guild of America; the Zygmunt & Audrey Wilf Foundation; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; Writers Guild of America, West; John M. August; Dreambridge LLC; and Utah Film Commission.