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Sundance Documentary Awards

In 2012, Sundance Documentary Awards were implemented during the Sundance Film Festival as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Sundance Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute.  Through past and present partnerships with Candescent Films, Time Warner Foundation, WorldView, ESPN and Hilton Worldwide, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program offers additional direct granting award opportunities to further extend its artist support. Sundance Documentary Award winners are selected through a nomination and review process stemming out of the bi-annual Documentary Fund applications;  there is no separate application.

Hilton Hotels Worldwide grants LightStay Sustainability Awards to feature documentary films and documentary shorts with themes of environmental sustainability. Grants ranging from $10,000 - $25,000 are  announced during the Sundance Film Festival to films in varying stages of production through distribution. Winners are selected from a pool of DFP-nominated films, and chosen by Hilton Hotels Worldwide for their excellence in promoting the global discussion of sustainability and challenges of living in a resource constrained world.  2012 award recipients include The Island President, Rafea: Solar Mamas, and Easy Like Water , as well as the documentary short film From the Mara Soil. 2013 Award recipients include The Revolutionary Optimists, Seeds of Time (formerly known as Hungry ) and If You Build It (formerly known as Studio H) (Honorable Mention), as well as the documentary short film Jungle Fish. 2014 Award recipients include Shored Up, as well as the documentary short film Vezo. For additional information about the Awards, please click here.

Candescent Films awards a cash grant to one or more independent documentary films nominated by the DFP. Founded in 2010 by Lilly Hartley, Candescent partners with pioneering filmmakers to produce and finance socially conscious films. Through compelling character-driven documentaries, Candescent aims to educate the public and ignite conversation. Candescent champions the passion projects of acclaimed actors committed to raising awareness for global issues.  Award winners include Private Violence, Marmato, E-team,  Escape Fire, Gideon’s Army  and  After Tiller. For additional information about Candescent Films, please visit their website.

Time Warner Fellowship awards a $12,000 grant to a feature documentary from an emerging minority filmmaker. Time Warner Fellows then are eligible to receive year-round artist support through Sundance DFP grantee programs. The 2012 Time Warner Fellow was Almudena Carracedo; 2013 Time Warner Fellows were Johnny Symons and S. Leo Chiang; and the 2014 Time Warner Fellow is Bernardo Ruiz.

Past Awards:
Announced during Sundance London 2012, Sundance Institute and WorldView awards were presented to four films that focused on social justice issues in the developing world. Each award, was accompanied by a £5,000 or £10,000 grant, and the Documentary Development Award  was enhanced with professional access to film mentorship from Jerry Rothwell, whose documentaries have been supported by WorldView and Sundance Institute.

In 2012, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Sundance Institute in partnership with ESPN Films awarded the ESPN Films award to Town of Runners, directed by Jerry Rothwell , celebrating a sports-focused, contemporary-issue themed project. The one time award included a cash award, along with access to year round creative support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film program and ESPN Films.