Feature Film Program


Development and Post-Production Tracks

For fiction feature writers, directors, writer/directors, or writer/director teams, there are two tracks to apply for support from the Feature Film Program: the development track (for projects in the screenplay development stage) and the post-production track (for features in picture edit.) There is one application for both U.S. and international applicants; regardless of where you are based, you can submit your work using this application.


DEVELOPMENT TRACK

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)
  • FilmTwo Initiative (Intensive held annually in March; for filmmakers developing their second fiction feature)
  • Sundance Institute Asian American Fellowship
  • Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Latinx Fellowship
  • Sundance Institute Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and Commissioning Grant (for projects with scientific and/or technological content)
  • Sundance Institute Open Borders Fellowship (for international directors based outside the U.S.)

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.)

Click here to apply for the 2019 development track. Applications must be submitted by 6:00 pm PT on May 15, 2018.

DEVELOPMENT TRACK PROGRAMS AND FELLOWSHIPS

  • Program Description:
    The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writers’ 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 focuses on the art and craft of screenwriting and creative risk taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with creative advisors, fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers indispensable lessons in craft to facilitate the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.

    Eligibility:
    The Screenwriters Lab supports writers, writer/directors, and writer/director teams developing their first or second fiction feature film. If you have previously had more than one fiction feature produced, you are not eligible to apply. International projects must have a director attached.

    Size:
    Twelve projects are selected for the Screenwriters Lab.

    Location:
    Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah

    Dates:
    January 18–23, 2019

    Cost:
    The cost of airfare, accommodations, and meals for up to two participants per project is covered. Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate.

    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 Institute of 0.25% of the portion of their film's final budget that exceeds $1,000,000 (this number may increase to 0.5 or 0.75% through participation in a Directors Lab and/or Sundance-affiliated grant support exceeding $10,000), (b) Sundance Institute will receive 1% of 100% of the film's net receipts, and (c) Sundance Institute will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles.

    Apply Now

  • Program Description:
    Part of our Inclusion and Outreach Initiative, the Screenwriters Intensive provides emerging screenwriters with the opportunity to hone their craft in a two-day concentrated workshop. The program supports 10 to 12 writers or writer/directors developing a fiction feature screenplay and includes a hands-on writing workshop, a screening of a recent Sundance film followed by an in-depth conversation with the filmmaker, and two one-on-one script feedback sessions with creative advisors. Like the residency labs held in Utah, the Screenwriters Intensive focuses deeply on the creative process and fosters community among the participants.

    Eligibility:
    The Screenwriters Intensive supports writers, writer/directors, and writer/director teams from underrepresented communities who are developing a first fiction feature screenplay. Typically, the majority of artists selected for the Screenwriters Intensive are U.S.-based, but international artists may be considered for the program.

    Size:
    Ten projects are selected for the Screenwriters Intensive.

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA

    Dates:
    March 2019 (exact dates TBD)

    Cost:
    Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate. Travel to and accommodations in Los Angeles are not covered, although a small travel stipend is provided to help offset costs.

  • Program Description:
    FilmTwo is a specialized artist development program dedicated to supporting filmmakers who are developing their second fiction features. The program supports 10 to 12 writer/directors or writer/director teams, with priority given to women and artists from underrepresented communities.

    FilmTwo fellows have access to a customized support track that is based on their individual needs and includes:

    • FilmTwo Intensive—Fellows are invited to participate in a two-day workshop at Sundance Institute’s Los Angeles offices, which includes a dedicated writing workshop with esteemed screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury (Nashville), industry mentorship sessions, and one-on-one creative meetings. Intensive activities 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 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.
    • Each FilmTwo fellow is eligible for the Sundance Institute | Universal Fellowship, which includes a cohort of up to four FilmTwo fellows who receive a grant and the opportunity to meet with key Universal executives across all of the studio’s business groups.

    In addition to these services, FilmTwo fellows will also be considered for participation in various FFP labs and activities on an individual basis, including:

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

    Eligibility:
    Applicants must have had one fiction feature screenplay produced as a writer or writer/director and must be developing a second fiction feature screenplay, ideally with an early draft completed. Projects must have a director attached. Typically, the majority of artists selected for the FilmTwo Initiative are U.S.-based, but international artists may be considered for the program.

    Size:
    Ten to twelve projects are selected for the FilmTwo Initiative.

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA

    Dates:
    March 2019 (exact dates TBD)

    Cost:
    Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate. Travel to and accommodations in Los Angeles are not covered, although a small travel stipend is provided to help offset costs.

  • Fellowship Description:
    The Asian American 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 supports an Asian American writer or writer/director in the development of their feature screenplay through participation in the Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, or Creative Producing Summit. In addition, the fellow receives an unrestricted grant of $2,500 in support of their work as well as ongoing creative and tactical support from FFP staff.

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

  • Fellowship Description:
    The Latinx Fellowship supports one U.S.-based Latinx writer or writer/director through participation in either the Screenwriters Lab or the Screenwriters Intensive. In addition, the fellow receives an unrestricted grant of $2,500 in support of their work as well as ongoing creative and tactical support from FFP staff. The Latinx Fellowship is supported by Time Warner Foundation.

    Eligibility:
    In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be a writer or writer/director of Latinx descent based primarily in the United States and must be developing a first or second fiction feature screenplay.

  • Fellowship and Grant Description:
    To support the development of screenplays with scientific or technological 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 a full treatment or early screenplay draft. Additionally, one fellowship is awarded annually to an emerging screenwriter to support the ongoing development of a feature-length fiction screenplay with science or technology themes through participation at a Screenwriters Lab.

    Eligibility:

    • Projects must incorporate real scientific and/or technological themes and/or characters. Stories that are sci-fi, speculative, or futuristic in nature are not eligible.
    • Projects must be a feature-length fiction film (no documentaries).
    • Project must be live action (no animation).
    • Projects must be in the English language, and applicant must reside in the U.S.
    • For the grant only, screenwriters can be at any stage of their career, with no prior produced work or many produced works. The submission may range from detailed treatment to full screenplay.
    • For the fellowship, screenwriters must have no more than one produced feature screenplay, and only the complete draft of a screenplay may be submitted (no treatments).
    • If the treatment/screenplay is based on source material, the screenwriter must have an option on, or be in the process of optioning, the source material.
  • Program Description:
    Designed to support distinctive new voices in world cinema working in both fiction narrative and documentary, the Open Borders Fellowship includes a development grant as well as a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City to receive the award and attend a curated slate of industry meetings, networking opportunities, panels, and screenings. Filmmakers are eligible to receive year-round creative and strategic support from the Sundance Institute Feature Film and Documentary Film Programs for their next feature-length project.

    Eligibility:
    Applicants must be a writer/director or director developing their first or second feature-length fiction project. An early draft of the screenplay must be submitted. Filmmakers from all countries outside the U.S. are eligible. Documentary projects may apply through the Documentary Film Fund.

    Size:
    Four projects are selected for the Open Borders Fellowship.

    Location:
    Park City, UT

    Dates:
    January 24–February 3, 2019

    Cost:
    Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate. Travel to and accommodations in Park City are covered.

  • Program 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, fellows workshop scenes, collaborate with actors, and find a visual language for their film in an atmosphere where experimentation and risk taking is encouraged. At the end of the month, Directors Lab fellows also join a Screenwriters Lab with five additional projects, participating in individualized story sessions under the guidance of established screenwriters.

    Eligibility:
    There is no open application available for the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have already been supported via a prior Institute program such as a Screenwriters Lab, intensive, or grant. The Directors Lab supports first-time fiction feature directors; application to the development track is the best way to put your project into the pipeline of eventual consideration for the Directors Lab.

    Size:
    Eight projects are selected for the Directors Lab.

    Location:
    Sundance Resort, UT

    Dates:
    May 28–June 28, 2018

    Cost:
    The cost of airfare, accommodations, and meals for up to two participants per project is covered. Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate.

    In return for participation in a Directors Lab, fellows are obligated to sign an agreement stipulating that (a) they will make a contribution to Sundance Institute of 0.5% of the portion of their film's final budget that exceeds $1,000,000 (this number may increase to 0.75% through Sundance-affiliated grant support exceeding $10,000), (b) Sundance Institute will receive 1% of 100% of the film's net receipts, and (c) Sundance Institute will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles.

    Additional questions? Read the development track FAQ.

    1. What’s the difference between the Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, and FilmTwo Intensive? Why might I be selected for one over the other?
      Each program has its own specific eligibility requirements:
      • The Screenwriters Lab is for first or second-time fiction feature writers, writer/directors, or writer/director teams.
      • The Screenwriters Intensive is for first-time fiction feature writers or writer/directors who come from underrepresented communities, including women, artists of color, LGBTQ artists, and artists with disabilities. The Screenwriters Intensive focuses on supporting artists at an earlier stage of their career and/or at an earlier stage of development with their project.
      • The FilmTwo Intensive is for second-time fiction feature writer/directors or writers working with second-time directors, with priority given to artists from underrepresented communities. Although FilmTwo fellows are selected with a project in development, the program is designed to support an artist at a specific stage of career development, with primary focus placed on creative and strategic efforts toward professional advancement.
    2. Am I eligible for future Sundance support if I am selected for a development track program or fellowship?
      All development track program fellows are eligible to be considered for additional Feature Film Program labs and activities, including the Directors Lab (first-time fiction feature directors only), the Creative Producing Summit, Catalyst Forum, Women’s Financing Intensive, and ongoing creative and strategic support from Feature Film Program staff.
    3. How do I submit an application?
      Applications are available online between April 3–May 15, 2018 for the 2019 January Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, and FilmTwo Initiative. You can find a link to the application here.
    4. What does the application include?
      In the first round, an application includes the following components:
      • Cover letter (750 word limit): Please introduce yourself and your 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, where you are in the creative process, and how specifically you think the lab process could be helpful to you.
      • Artistic statement (1000 word limit): Please describe your creative vision for the project. What is your personal connection to the material? What themes are you most interested in exploring in your work, and 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? Who do you see as the audience for this film? Why are you passionate about telling this story now? If this is a resubmission of material we’ve previously considered, how has the material changed since we last read it?
      • Logline: A 1–2 sentence description of your project.
      • Synopsis (1000 word limit): A brief summary of the plot of your script. Please include all major characters and story points, including the ending.
      • Bio(s) (500 word limit per bio): You may include a bio for up to three members of the creative team, although only the screenwriter(s) and director, if involved with development, will attend the lab.
      • Description of Scientific or Technological Content (Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship/Grant applicants only): Please give a brief description of the thematic core and scientific ideas being explored. Please include what scientific research and and consultation you would like to put this particular grant towards; this can include specific scientists or fields of research.
      • The first five pages of your screenplay or treatment. Please do not submit more than the first five pages. NOTE: You may submit a treatment for the Sloan Commissioning Grant ONLY. If a treatment is submitted and it is not eligible for the Sloan Commissioning Grant, the project will not be considered for any other development track programs or fellowships.
      • Demographic Info: In an effort to measure and improve our commitment to supporting artists from diverse backgrounds around the world, we ask each applicant a series of demographic questions. Your responses will not affect your submission to our programs or be sold or shared with anyone at any time.
    5. What materials will be requested from me if I advance to the second round? What is the deadline to submit second round materials?
      If you advance to the second round of consideration, you will be asked to upload the complete draft of your screenplay. For the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant ONLY, you may upload a complete draft of your treatment. In addition, you will be given the opportunity to include a link to a directorial sample, although this is not required. Typically, you will be given 10 days to 2 weeks from the date of notification to submit second round materials.
    6. If I advance to the second round, am I a finalist?
      We don’t use designations like “finalist” or “semi-finalist.” Approximately 1000–1200 complete screenplays are considered as part of the second round.
    7. I’m an international filmmaker based outside the U.S. How can I apply?
      Whether you’re based in the U.S. or internationally, you may apply using the development track application found here. The January Screenwriters Lab always includes both U.S.-based and international filmmakers. Typically, the majority of artists selected for the Screenwriters Intensive and the FilmTwo Initiative are U.S.-based, but international artists may be considered for both programs.
    8. What are the dates of the Screenwriters Lab/Screenwriters Intensive/FilmTwo Intensive?
      January Screenwriters Lab: January 18–23, 2019
      Screenwriters Intensive: March 2019, exact dates TBD
      FilmTwo Intensive: March 2019, exact dates TBD
    9. Is it possible to get an extension? What’s the final, final deadline?
      Unfortunately we cannot grant extensions - you must submit your online application by 6:00 p.m. PT on May 15, 2018.
    10. How can I apply to the Directors Lab?
      There is no open application process for the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have already been supported via a prior Institute program such as a Screenwriters Lab, Intensive, or grant. The Directors Lab supports first-time fiction feature directors; application to the development track is the best way to put your project into the pipeline of eventual consideration for the Directors Lab.
    11. May I apply with more than one script?
      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.
    12. I have a project I want to submit, but it’s still in treatment form or a partial draft. 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 or partial draft for consideration?
      No. We need to receive a completed draft of a screenplay to consider your project. This does not mean the final draft; however, we do ask that the script is in standard format. The only exception to this rule is the application for the Sloan Commissioning Grant, which will consider treatments.
    13. May I re-apply with a script that I’ve submitted to Sundance previously?
      Under certain circumstances, yes. We strongly recommend you only re-apply with material we’ve considered previously if you’ve made significant revisions to the script.
    14. How long (or short) should my script be?
      While there is no “correct length,” a typical screenplay is 90-120 pages. In most cases, if your script is significantly longer or shorter than that range, we will suggest you do more revisions before submitting it for consideration.
    15. 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 before you submit it.
    16. Do you consider adaptations?
      Yes, we will consider scripts based on existing material, as long as you have secured the underlying rights to the source material.
    17. May I apply with a script that has been submitted or supported elsewhere?
      Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been submitted to or supported by other artist development programs.
    18. I don’t have much experience. Does that affect my chances of being selected?
      No. We seek to foster exciting emerging voices, regardless of prior professional film experience.
    19. How far along should my screenplay be when I submit? Can I submit a rough draft? Are you looking for a polished draft?
      You must have a completed draft of your screenplay to apply, but we expect that it will still be a work-in-progress. The ideal time to apply to the lab is when you’ve taken your screenplay as far as you can go on your own, and need the fresh, intensive perspective the lab provides to brainstorm solutions to stubborn challenges, get “unstuck,” or take the material to a next level.
    20. May I submit letters of recommendation? Should I have my industry contacts call on my behalf?
      No. Final selections are based on the screenplay and supporting application materials alone, and recommendations will not influence our decisions.
    21. How should I address my cover letter?
      “Dear Sundance” or “To Whom It May Concern” are both fine.
    22. How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not selected?
      All Lab notifications are made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether selected or not.
    23. I haven’t received notification yet, but my friends have - what’s wrong? When will I know if I’ve made it to the second round?
      Email notifications are made on a rolling basis. You will hear whether you have advanced to the second round of the application by August 24. Second round notifications about final selections for development track programs will be made by December 14.
    24. Can Sundance help produce my film? What kind of grants/support/production help can I apply for?
      Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization, and as such we do not produce nor finance films. Feature Film Program grants are reserved for artists already supported by one of our programs such as a Lab or Intensive. 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 for our development track.
    25. Will my ideas be protected?
      Sundance Institute only shares your script with a small group of trusted readers and, if you advance in the selection process, with a selection committee comprised of Sundance alumni. Even so, we recommend that all applicants who send their work out into the world register their scripts with the Writers Guild of America for a nominal fee; you do not need to be a WGA member to utilize its registration service.
    26. What does the program cost?
      Aside from an application fee, we do not charge for participation in our programs. For the Screenwriters Lab in Utah, we cover the cost of travel, accommodations, and food for up to 2 participants per project. For the Screenwriters Intensive and the FilmTwo Initiative, travel and accommodations are not covered, but we do offer a small stipend to Fellows coming from outside Los Angeles to help offset those costs.
    27. When I apply for or am selected for one of your programs, does Sundance own my screenplay?
      No. Sundance Institute does not take possession of any Lab Fellow's intellectual property. However, 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 Institute of 0.25% of the portion of their film's final budget that exceeds $1,000,000. (this number may increase to 0.5 or 0.75% through participation in a Directors Lab and/or Sundance-affiliated grant support exceeding $10,000), (b) Sundance Institute will receive 1% of 100% of the film's net receipts, and (c) Sundance Institute will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles.

    Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship & Commissioning Grant FAQ

    1. What's the difference between the Commissioning Grant and the Fellowship?
      The Commissioning Grant focuses on projects in earlier stages of development – from full treatment form to early screenplay drafts. If your script is in a later stage of development, we can consider it for a Screenwriters Lab Fellowship. If you are not sure, please choose either within the application, and we will evaluate based on the status of the project for either the Grant or Fellowship. Please remember that the Screenwriters Lab Fellowship is only available to first or second time feature screenwriters.
    2. Do I need to have a science advisor already on board my project?
      No science advisor is required in order to apply for this grant. However, you are encouraged to include information about any that you may be collaborating with or would like to collaborate with in the “Brief Description of the scientific ideas being explored…” section of the application.
    3. Why can't I submit a science fiction project?
      The goal of this particular grant is to focus on stories grounded in current (or past) science and/or technology. Although we understand some cutting edge science can be construed as science fiction, please use your best judgement in deciding whether or not to apply. For example, stories taking place in the future or involving science that is clearly not yet achievable would be considered science fiction.
    4. Can I submit my documentary project?
      This Grant and Fellowship is only available to narrative (scripted) features only.
    5. Can I re-apply with the same project as last year?
      Yes, although we encourage you to re-apply with the same project only if you have made significant revisions. If you do re-apply, please articulate what has changed in terms of story, attachments, and/or strategy since the previous submission. It is important for our selection committee to understand the movement forward from a previous submission.
    6. Can only Americans apply?
      International applicants may apply, but all submitted projects for the Sloan Commissioning Grant or Lab Fellowship must be intended to be filmed in English and submitted to us in English.
    7. Do you accept scripts that have been supported via other Alfred P. Sloan Foundations grants and awards?
      Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been supported through prior grants, awards, and workshops.

    Still don’t see your question regarding the Alfred P Sloan Fellowship & Commissioning Grant answered here? Email us at sloangrants@sundance.org

POST-PRODUCTION TRACK

The post-production track has one application that allows a fiction feature film in picture edit to be considered for two programs:

  • Editing Residency (held annually in June, attended by both the director and editor)
  • Film Music and Sound Design Lab (held annually in July, attended by the director)

The application allows you to choose whether you would like to be considered for one or both programs. There is one application for both U.S. and international applicants.

Past projects supported through post-production track programs include The Fits, Crown Heights, Keep the Change, Nancy, American Animals, Un Traductor, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, and Frank & Lola, among others.

Applications for the 2018 Post-Production Track are currently closed. Please check back in early 2019 for more information on next year's program.

Post-Production Track Programs

  • Program Description:
    The Editing Residency brings the director and editor of two fiction feature films in picture edit to the Directors Lab at the Sundance Mountain Resort for one week in June. A dedicated editing creative advisor will be in residence, along with the other advisors at the lab that week. The goal is to provide an immersive space to work on the edit and significantly advance the cut over the course of a week.

    Eligibility:
    Filmmakers must be in picture edit on a fiction feature film; by the start date of the residency, filmmakers must have completed a first cut but still have significant time allotted in the schedule before picture lock. Priority is given to first or second-time directors that are alumni of Institute programs or the Festival. To apply, filmmakers must submit a rough cut or substantial sequences along with the shooting draft of the screenplay.

    Size:
    Two projects are selected per residency.

    Location:
    Sundance Resort, UT

    Dates:
    June 6–14, 2018

    Cost:
    The cost of airfare, accommodations, and meals for up to two participants per project is covered. Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate.

  • Program Description:
    Held in July at Skywalker Sound, the Film Music and Sound Design Lab provides a group of eight emerging composers with valuable firsthand experience composing for film. The Feature Film Program offers four directors in post-production on a fiction feature the opportunity to pair up with one of the composer fellows to collaborate and explore the role of music in their work. (The Documentary Film Program provides the same opportunity to four directors in post-production on a documentary film.) Each filmmaker/composer team also works closely with an in-house sound designer in an environment where music, score, and sound design are treated as integrated aspects of the overall story world of the film. With leading film composers, directors, music editors, and music supervisors serving as creative advisors, lab fellows work closely together in a supportive atmosphere designed to promote experimentation and collaboration. Please note: The post-production track application is for directors with a feature in post-production only; composers wishing to be considered for the Music and Sound Design Lab must apply through the Film Music Program application.

    Eligibility:

    • Directors must be in picture edit on a fiction feature film and must have completed at least a first cut by the start date of the lab. Priority will be given to first- and second-time fiction feature directors.
    • Directors may or may not have a composer attached to the film; however, only the director will travel to the lab, so directors will be paired with one of the composer fellows even if another composer is attached. (The lab collaboration with a composer is for the workshop only, and directors are not obligated to use any material generated at the lab in the finished film.)
    • To apply, filmmakers must submit a rough cut or substantial sequences of the film with the shooting draft of the screenplay.

    Size:
    Four fiction films in post-production are selected per lab.

    Location:
    Skywalker Sound, Marin County, CA

    Dates:
    July 15–23, 2018

    Cost:
    The cost of airfare, accommodations, and meals for one participant per project is covered. Beyond the application fee, there is no fee to participate.

    Additional questions? Read the post-production track FAQ here.

    1. Do I have to apply to both the Editing Residency and the Film Music and Sound Design Lab?
      No. You can choose to apply to only one of the programs, or you can be considered for both simultaneously. The application allows you to indicate which programs you want to apply for.
    2. Can I be selected for both the Editing Residency and the Film Music and Sound Design Lab?
      Yes, it’s possible to be selected for both programs.
    3. Which members of the team attend these programs?
      The director and editor of a project attend the Editing Residency. The director of a project attends the Film Music and Sound Design Lab.
    4. Do you support international projects?
      Yes. However, if selected for the Editing Residency, international artists may be asked to cover a portion of their airfare to the program.
    5. I’m a director and I’m already working with a composer on my film. Can he/she come to the Film Music and Sound Design with me?
      No. The Film Music and Sound Design Lab has a separate application for composer fellows, which has an April 2 deadline and can be found here. Selected directors will be paired with one of the Film Music composer fellows even if another composer is attached to their film. The lab collaboration with a composer is for the workshop only, and directors are not expected or obligated to use any material generated there in the finished film.
    6. How far along in post-production should I be when I apply?
      In order to apply, you need to submit a link to a cut of your film. Ideally we would prefer to see a completed cut, but if you’re not yet at that stage, you can submit significant edited scenes or sequences. We require you submit a minimum of 20 minutes of edited material.

      For the Editing Residency, by the start date of the residency filmmaking teams should have completed at least a first cut of the film, but still have significant time allotted in the schedule before picture lock. For the Film Music and Sound Design Lab, by the start date of the lab filmmaking teams can be anywhere in the process between a completed first cut and picture lock.
    7. Who watches the cut of my film?
      Feature Film Program staff are the only people who view the cut of the film during the selection process. Once a project is selected, the cut will also be shared with the Film Music Program staff. At no point is the cut shared across the Institute (including the Film Festival programming staff,) and FFP staff are not involved with programming the Film Festival.
    8. What does it cost to attend the program?
      Aside from the application fee, there is no fee to attend. Travel, accommodations, and meals are covered for 2 participants per project for the Editing Residency and 1 participant per project for the Film Music and Sound Design Lab.
    9. What are the technical requirements and specifications for the Editing Residency?
      We can support most standard editing software (e.g. Avid, Final Cut, Premiere). Selected projects will liaise with our technical director in advance of the residency to ensure an appropriate setup is provided that allows filmmaking teams to continue working with existing media and systems.

FFP Fund: ONGOING ALUMNI SUPPORT

Every year, Sundance Institute provides more than $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 work together with our partners to award funds, considering impact, timing, urgency, and quality of work as key criteria.

  • 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), Cherien Dabis (May In The Summer), Angelica Nwandu (Night Comes On), Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) and Christopher Makoto Yogi (I Was a Simple Man). The 2016 Time Warner Fellows are Annie Silverstein (Bull) and Frances Bodomo (Afronauts).

  • 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 Grainger David (The Wall at the End of the Road). Previous Fellows include Kibwe Tavares (The Kitchen), Geremy Jasper (Patti Cake$), Meredith Danluck (State Like Sleep) and Ariel Kleiman (Partisan).

  • 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 2017 Fellowship was awarded to Dee Rees (Mudbound). Previous recipients include Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and Rodrigo Garcia (Last Days in the Desert).

  • 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 2017 Sundance Institute/NHK Award: Remi Weekes / HIS HOUSE (UK)

    Other films which have been supported by the Sundance Institute/NHK Award include: Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Elena (Russia), Cherien Dabis’s May in the Summer (Palestine), 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.

  • Presented in partnership with the Maryland Film Festival, 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 2016 Maryland Film Fellows are Eva Vives (Nina) and Frances Bodomo (Afronauts). Past Maryland Film Fellows include Olivia Newman (First Match), Brent Green (The First Night On Earth), Jeremiah Zagar and Dan Kitrosser (We the Animals), Karrie Crouse and Will Joines (Dust), 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 (Night Catches Us).

  • 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 2016 Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmaker Fellow is Eva Vives (All About Nina). Previous recipients include Olivia Newman (First Match), Jordana Spiro (Night Comes On), Meredith Danluck (State Like Sleep), Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance), Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me) and Dee Rees (Pariah).

  • 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 2017 Lynn Auerbach fellow is Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. Past Lynn Auerbach fellows include Eva Vives (Nina), Frances Bodomo (Afronauts), Ashlee Page (Archive), 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).

  • 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 2017 Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellow is Kathryn J. Schubert. Past recipients of the Editing Fellowship include Julia Bloch (2011), Debbie Berman (2012), Joseph Krings (2013), Alex O'Flinn (2014), Erica Freed Marker (2015), and Abbi Jutkowitz (2016).

    The 2017 deadline for Sally Menke Fellowship applications has passed. Sally Menke Fellowship applications are considered by invitation or recommendation only and the selection process for 2018 applicants will begin next February. For more information, please contact FeatureFilmProgram@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 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
  • Application Not currently accepting applications.
    Dates Summer 2017 (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.
  • Application To be announced
    Dates June 23-29
    Size of Lab 6-8 Projects
    Location Peloponnese, Greece
    Eligibility Filmmakers from Greece, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain working on their first or second feature screenplays. Guest country for 2018: Lebanon
    Description Sundance Institute, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos' Faliro House ( The Lobster, Before Midnight), and filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari ( At_tenberg, Chevalier_) have partnered to create the Faliro House | Sundance Mediterranean Screenwriters Workshop, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers in Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal. Modeled on the Institute’s renowned Screenwriters Lab in Utah, the workshop is designed to give independent screenwriters a fully immersive space to work intensively on their first or second feature film scripts.
  • Application By invitation
    Dates October (exact dates TBD)
    Size of Lab 6-8 Projects
    Location Morelia, Mexico
    Eligibility Filmmakers from Mexico working on their first or second feature screenplays.
    Description The Feature Film Program's first international lab was established in the early 90s with producer Berta Navarro, and supported an exciting new generation of Mexican filmmakers, including Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo Del Toro. We are very pleased to return with the Morelia Screenwriters Lab, run in collaboration with Berta and the Morelia Film Festival, an opportunity for the Institute to re-establish ties to our closest neighbor and support a new generation of artists in Mexico.
  • Application By Invitation
    Dates December 2016 (TBA)
    Size of Lab 3 Projects
    Location Havana, Cuba
    Eligibility Independent Screenwriters from Cuba or diaspora working on their first or second feature screenplay.
    Description The recent and historic opening of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US presented a unique opportunity for Sundance Institute to return to Cuba at a culturally and politically crucial moment. This past December, the Feature Film Program (FFP) at Sundance Institute collaborated with two leading arts organizations in Cuba, the Festival Internacional de Cine Nuevo Latinoamericano and La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) on an exchange program for American and Cuban filmmakers. In 2016, the Institute will return to Havana to continue to build this comprehensive multi-year initiative that will create sustained, expansive support for Cuban artists working in multiple disciplines. With a rich cinematic lineage and thriving art scene encompassing many forms, Cuba is a place where underrepresented voices need creative and strategic support to share their stories with the world. The Cuba Initiative will set the stage for a broader cultural and artistic dialogue, with the ultimate goal of introducing global audiences to the dynamic voices of modern Cuban society.

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:

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Learn More

  • The Creative Distribution Initiative 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, the Creative Distribution Initiative gives every Institute-supported film robust access to best-in-class digital distribution deals, creative funding tactics, and marketing support.

    Learn More


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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