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Sundance Institute | TED Prize Filmmaker Award - FAQ

Is the TED Prize Winner on board with the idea of a short film?

Yes, however they are not available to consult with filmmakers about their proposal.

Are there expectations about the timeline of the proposed film?

This project will kick off after the TED Prize Filmmaker Award winner is announced in early June 2014. The award winner should expect to start pre-production as soon as they are notified and should plan on shooting the TED Prize winner at key milestones throughout the execution of their project. The winning filmmaker should plan on delivering a film teaser that will screen at TED Global in October 2014. The final film will tentatively screen at TED Global 2015 and must be completed before then.

Does the project have to be US-based?

Applicants can be based anywhere in the world. The TED Prize Award winner is based in London and their work takes place throughout the world. Applicants should plan to shoot on location where the TED Prize winner will be working in the Award year and plan on making several productions trips.

Can these projects be news or television shows?

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and TED support artists making independently produced cinematic documentaries. This is not a television or news program fund, though multiple versions of the film are encouraged as part of a comprehensive co-production package.

Can I work with a broadcaster?

Projects can work with any co-producing entity or broadcaster as long as the editorial control is held by the project’s director and the broadcaster/co-producing entity consults with Sundance Institute and TED about the distribution of the project prior to committing to the project (please see “What rights do Sundance Institute and TED hold?” below).

Can I raise additional funding for the project?

Projects can have some additional financing in place and can raise additional funding. The filmmakers can also raise additional funds and develop the project into a feature-length film, but the award winner guarantees delivery of the short film and any ancillary deliverables as stipulated in a letter of agreement (please see “What rights do Sundance Institute and TED hold?” below).

What rights do Sundance Institute and TED hold?

Filmmakers should expect that Sundance Institute and TED will hold non-exclusive institutional screening rights and non-exclusive Executive Producer-level production credits on the short film, as well as appropriate credits on any TBD feature length material, or any other projects resulting material stemming from the production of the short film. Pending the acceptance of the proposal, this will be part of the discussion. Copyright will be determined by the director.

Will Sundance and TED review cuts of the film and provide feedback?

Sundance Institute and TED will be asking for a rough cut and fine cut for review, and will provide editorial feedback. Sundance Institute and TED reserve the right to request changes if, in our determination, the TED Prize winner’s work, is not be reflected in a way that is useful for the winner or their organization.

Will this film be programmed in the annual Sundance Film Festival?

Sundance Film Festival is programmed independently and all DFP-supported films must apply in the open application pool to the Festival. The DFP tracks its projects at SFF and advises on documentary activities and programming. Sundance Institute reserves the right to arrange a special event and/or screening of the film content at SFF.

To learn more about the TED Prize, go to