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.
A Note to 2019 Feature Film Program Applicants:
We are in the process of re-organizing our application processes for all 2019 Lab programs, which will open in Please check back here, and on Sundance social media, for more details, which will be made public as soon as they are available.
Open Application Fellowships
Explore grants and fellowships upcoming or currently open to independent filmmakers. View all open and upcoming Sundance Institute opportunities here.
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.
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 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
Continuum of 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:
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
The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by The Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; YouTube; RT Features; Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation; Time Warner Foundation; Amazon Studios; NBCUniversal; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; National Endowment for the Arts; NHK Enterprises, Inc.; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; SAGindie; The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; Grazka Taylor; Philip Fung - A3 Foundation; The Ammon Foundation; Directors Guild of America; Writers Guild of America, West; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; and the Deborah Reinisch and Michael Theodore Fund.
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