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Project Support Continuum

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 the artists and projects it supports, the Feature Film Program offers support to Fellows through several annual Labs:

  • The January Screenwriters Lab, at which filmmakers develop their screenplays through intensive one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors
  • The Directors Lab in June, which provides an opportunity for directors to rehearse, shoot, and edit selected scenes from their screenplays in a workshop environment under the guidance of Creative Advisors
  • The June Screenwriters Lab, which allows Fellows time to revisit and revise their screenplays based on the challenges experienced during the Directors Lab
  • The Film Music and Sound Design Lab, which provides a collaborative space for directors and film music composers to work together, scoring music to scenes from the Directors Lab, and
  • The Creative Producing Summit, a three-day conference focusing on the producing, financing, and distribution of independent film in the current marketplace.

Based on the specific needs of the project, many Fellows then receive ongoing creative and strategic support through all stages of the project's life.

After participating in the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, Feature Film Program Fellows continue to receive a range of tailored assistance as they move their projects forward into production and postproduction. Some of the ways in which the Feature Film Program maintains its commitment and support of filmmakers and their projects include: ongoing creative and business support provided by Feature Film Program staff, donated or discounted equipment and services from vendors, the Screenplay Reading Series, Film Grants and Fellowships, the Rough-Cut Screening Initiative, creative distribution/marketing support, and Sundance Film Festival programming for recent Lab alumni. Among the companies and vendors who continue to support our Fellows are Alpha Cine Labs, EFilm, Final Draft, Goldcrest, Kodak, Modern VideoFilm, and Panavision.

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 of the screenplay 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 fails to hold interest. 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. Films that have been selected for the Reading Series include Martha Marcy May Marlene, written and directed by Sean Durkin, Life Partners, co-written by Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz and directed by Susanna Fogel, Half Nelson, written and directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Me And You And Everyone We Know, written and directed by Miranda July, Love And Basketball, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, and The Wood, written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa, among many others. 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

Please note there is no application process for the Screenplay Reading Series. These events are reserved for projects that have gone through the Screenwriters and Directors Labs and are one more method of support the Feature Film Program provides its Fellows.

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 City to watch cuts of the film and offer directors creative feedback in scheduled individual meetings. The FFP often organizes several 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.