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