The development track has one open application that allows your fiction feature work-in-progress screenplay to be considered for the following programs, fellowships, and grants:
- Screenwriters Lab (held annually in January)
- Screenwriters Intensive (held annually in March)
- Sundance Institute Comedy Fellowship
- Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship (for projects with scientific and/or technological content)
Our application includes questions to determine your eligibility for each program and fellowship, and you will automatically be considered for all programs and fellowships for which you are eligible. (There is no open application for the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have been supported through a previous development program.)
For our upcoming Development Track, we've made a commitment to continue and deepen our outreach and support across all underrepresented groups. For this reason, we've decided to discontinue our Asian American and Latinx Fellowships. Please know that this does not indicate a reduced desire to support artists from these communities. Upon deeper examination of our programs through a racial equity lens, we have determined that offering specific fellowships for the same communities every year does not allow us to maximize impact on an equitable basis within the communities most marginalized, and where our annual reporting tells us we have the most room to improve. We will still support Asian American and Latinx artists among a diverse cohort in our Development Track programs, and will continue to make it a priority to identify and amplify voices from all traditionally marginalized communities.
Applications for the 2022 development track will open on April 1, 2021 and can be accessed at apply.sundance.org. The deadline to submit will be May 17, 2021.
Development Track Programs and Fellowships
FFP Fund: Ongoing Alumni Support
Every year, Sundance Institute provides more than $300,000 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 work together with our partners to award funds, considering impact, timing, urgency, and quality of work as key criteria.
In 1990, the Feature Film Program made a commitment to support a vibrant exchange and dialogue across cultures by including the work of international filmmakers as part of its core program. Our Labs have been enriched by developing artists and projects that are deeply rooted in the personal and cultural history of filmmaking voices from all over the world. During these years, the FFP has supported numerous award-winning artists from over eighty countries through U.S.-based Labs for Screenwriters and Directors, customized, year-round creative and strategic support, and fellowship programs,
To expand upon our legacy of Screenwriters Labs in Brazil, Cuba, Greece, India, Jordan, Mexico and Turkey, the Feature Film Program has created ongoing partnerships with international organizations, supporting a next generation of filmmakers and producers from the Global South. We are currently building a multi-year program in Latin America, Africa and MENA to support artists working across fiction and non-fiction filmmaking, as well as episodic and emerging media formats. Through Sundance Co//ab, our community digital platform, we are organizing live webinars with leading Latin American filmmakers in Spanish language, and will soon provide learning opportunities in Arabic.
Between all the programs, FFP has supported international artists from over 60 countries making their first and second feature films, including:
|Guillermo del Toro Mexico
Alfonso Cuarón Mexico
Ritesh Batra India
Jonas Carpignano Italy
Chaitanya Tamhane India
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre France
|Dominga Sotomayor Chile
Lynne Ramsay UK
Tatiana Huezo Mexico
Remi Weekes UK
Maimouna Doucoure France
Andrey Zvyagintsev Russia
Project Support Continuum
Customized Advice, Connections, and Advocacy
After participation in one of the Labs, Feature Film Program Fellows continue to receive a robust suite of customized creative and tactical assistance as they move projects forward from development through distribution. In many cases, the Institute has helped the Fellows attach producers, identify potential financiers, and assemble other significant resources to move their projects toward production and distribution. Specific ways in which the Feature Film Program maintains its commitment and support of filmmakers and their projects include: ongoing creative and strategic support, designated mentors, key crew and producer recommendations and the Works-In-Progress Screening Initiative.
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
As of December 2020, Sundance Institute is deeply grateful to the following donors for their generous support of the Feature Film Program over the past year:
explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund
Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NHK/NHK Enterprises, Inc.
Kimberly Steward—K Period Media
Philip Fung—A3 Foundation
Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort
Directors Guild of America
Deborah Reinisch and Michael Theodore Fund
Writers Guild of America West
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