Native American and Indigenous Film Program

About Native Program

Sundance Institute's commitment to supporting Native American artists is woven throughout our history. Native American filmmakers have long been involved in the Institute, going back to Larry LittleBird (Taos Pueblo) and Chris SpottedEagle (Houmas Nation) who participated in the first meetings founding Sundance Institute. Following President and Founder Robert Redford's original vision, the Institute has remained committed to supporting the voices of Native American artists.

The Program is currently seeking US-based Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian filmmakers with short film screenplays that are no longer than 15 pages to consider for this Fellowship. Projects will be reviewed and selected based on their originality of voice and vision and their likelihood of being produced within 2018. The writer/director is encouraged to have a producer prior to selection. The writer/director will be the recipient of travel and accommodations to participate in the Residential Lab, a three-stage grant contract providing funds supporting pre-production, production and post- production, and attendance at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

  • The Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program, in collaboration with the Honolulu Museum of Art, will host a story-focused lab on May 14-16, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The goal of this lab is to provide Indigenous artists based in Hawaii with support and mentorship by Creative Advisors as they develop their short film screenplays.

    In order to eligibly apply to this lab, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be a Native Hawaiian or Indigenous Pacific Islander based in Hawaii
    • Submit a short film screenplay no longer than 15 pages
    • Be located in the Greater Honolulu area and/or can provide your own lodging and travel to the lab

    Applications for this event were due March 4, 2016.


The Native Program has built and sustained an Indigenous film circle. The cycle of our work begins by scouting for and identifying Native American and Indigenous artists, bringing them through the mechanisms of support at Sundance Institute to get their work made and shown, then bringing the filmmakers and their work back to native lands. The Native Lab Fellowship has been a vital part of supporting Native filmmakers full-circle since 2004.

The application for the 2018 Native Filmmakers Lab is closed.

  • Application The application for the 2018 Native Filmmakers Lab will open March 5, 2018 and close on March 25, 2018
    Dates May 13-18, 2018
    Grant Pool 2 projects
    Location Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Eligibility Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native film artists working in the U.S.
    Description Fellowship to provide direct support to emerging Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native film artists working in the U.S. The Fellowship will support first time filmmakers through the process of shooting a short film under the guidance of a Supervising Producer and mentoring Director.


  • Application Applications for this lab will be available October 2018
    Dates 2019 Sundance Film Festival
    Grant Pool 4 to attend the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and other TBD Native Program events
    Location Park City, Utah
    Eligibility Native American youths (18-24) to be selected from communities in Michigan and New Mexico
    Description The Full Circle Fellowship aims to support the next generation of Native American storytellers. This fellowship will provide opportunities to explore a career as a filmmaker and storyteller, attendance at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, a set internship at the Native Filmmakers Lab to gain hands-on film production experience, and a trip to Los Angeles with a schedule of production facilities tours, meetings with industry mentors, and film screenings.
  • Application Applications for this lab will be available November 2018
    Dates 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Sundance Producers Summit August 2019
    Grant Pool 2 Projects
    Location Sundance Resort, Utah and Park City, Utah
    Eligibility Native American producers
    Description Identifies emerging US-based Native producers and supports their professional development and the advancement of their projects. Supports attendance at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, attendance at the 2019 Creative Producing Summit, travel to an international film market, and includes a grant to help advance their project.

    Apply now

Upcoming Events

  • 7:30pm-9:00pm (Screening with Q&A)
    Cinema Detroit
    4126 3rd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201


Support for Native Program

The Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, SAGindie, Comcast-NBCUniversal, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Consulate General of Canada, Indigenous Media Initiatives, Fenton Bailey and Billy Luther, and Sarah Luther.

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