About Institute Archives

Since 1981, Sundance Institute has supported thousands of independent film and theatre artists with its artist development programs and its annual Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute Archives is dedicated to preserving and facilitating access to the work of these independent film and theatre artists and the material that documents their artistic processes in the creation of this work. By preserving seminal work in independent film, the history of the organization itself and the artists to come through its programs, the Archives provides an opportunity for dialogue about the process of creating independent film and theatre, the creative and career trajectories of individual artists whose bodies of work are closely linked to the Institute, and the impact of such work on contemporary American culture at large. The Archives is comprised of a range of specialized collections, including Sundance Collection at UCLA, an effort to collect and preserve independent film prints.

Our Online Archives represent the first major effort to make holdings from the Institute Archives publicly accessible. This searchable database is an exhaustive record of the artists and work supported through the Labs and the Film Festival since 1981.The Online Archives currently includes a fraction of the Archives' photographic material with additional photographic and other material to be added as resources allow. Additionally, selections of Archives material are occasionally featured in temporary exhibitions in conjunction with the Film Festival, Labs, or other Institute activities.

For more information, please email

Online Archives

This searchable database offers an exhaustive record of the artists and work supported through the Institute's Labs and the Film Festival since 1981. Please check back regularly as we continue to add and update content, including photographs, video, and additional archive material.

Scope of Materials

The Institute Archives covers the span of Institute history as well as the work of its supported artists. The Archives documents the Artist Development Programs, Sundance Film Festival, and Institute activities by collecting administrative and early Institute records, program and artist printed materials, press coverage, and publications. The Institute Archives collects the materials outlined in the scope and reassesses its pursuit of artist-produced records, outside of the scope, that further its mission and vision.

Audio-visual Materials

We have a collection of videotapes, audiotapes, and other multimedia documents related to Sundance Institute history, including recordings of panel discussions as well as footage of the Festival and Labs.

Manuscript and Report Collections

We collect the papers of our Creative Advisors, supported artists, and former staff as well as Board of Trustees and operational reports.

Oral Histories and Video Interviews

The Meet the Artists Series, video interviews of Festival filmmakers which began in 2004; Documentary Film Program interviews of supported filmmakers started in 2006; and Sundance Collection at UCLA filmmaker interviews began in 2001. Holdings also include a variety of interviews with filmmakers, composers, and theatre artists captured during their Lab experiences. At present, very few of our interviews have been transcribed.

Photographic Material

Since 1980, Sundance Institute has worked with many photographers to document the Film Festivals, Labs, and other activities. The Archives maintains some of the original negatives, slides, and photographs from the past 30 years of Institute history. An official provider relationship with WireImage/Getty Images began in 2003 and has provided a tremendous amount of photography coverage for the Film Festival; however, the Archives does not retain the original photographs or copyright. To date, thousands of images have yet to be digitized. We continue to work towards the long-term goal to provide broad online access to all of the images in the Archives.

As part of the materials collected from Festival filmmakers, we have amassed more than 20 years of film stills. While we do not own copyright or maintain the original negatives, we do maintain the slides, photographs, and born-digital files provided to us for publication purposes.

Printed Material

We have two collections of printed materials in the Archives: Sundance Institute and non-Sundance Institute. Sundance Institute printed materials include publications such as Festival Catalogs, Lab booklets, and press releases, as well as Festival, Lab, and Institute ephemera such as posters, postcards, maps, flyers, guides, brochures, and more that were either created by or for Sundance Institute. Non-Sundance Institute printed materials are comprised of creative works, publications, and ephemera collected from artists supported by the Institute, including press kits, scripts, and posters. Non-Sundance publications also include press clippings and articles that document the Festival, Labs, and/or Institute.

Archives Collections

Sundance Institute Collection

(c. 1979 - Present) documents the organization's history, including major changes, developments, and growth through correspondence, board of trustee reports, photographic material, audio and video recordings, press releases, publications, and press clippings.

Feature Film Program Collection

(c. 1981 - Present) contains items related to current and past Labs including the January Screenwriters Lab, Filmmakers/Directors Lab, June Screenwriters Lab, Producers Conference/Summit, Creative Producers Initiative Lab as well as the individuals and films supported by the Feature Film Program, and its grants, including the NHK Filmmaker Award. The collection consists of correspondence, reports, photographic material, audio and video recordings, screenplays, publications, and press releases.

Theatre Program Collection

(c. 1980 - Present) documents the development and progression of the Theatre Program and its labs including the Utah Playwrights Conference/Sundance Playwrights Laboratory, Children's Theatre Lab, Theatre Lab, Playwright's Retreat at the Ucross Foundation, Theater Lab at White Oak Plantation, East Africa Theatre Lab, Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA, and Theatre Lab at Governors Island. The collection contains correspondence, reports, photographic material, publications, and press releases.

Documentary Film Program Collection

(c. 2001- Present) consists of materials related to the Documentary Film Grant (known as the Soros Film Grant from 1996 - 2001), Documentary Edit and Story Lab, Documentary Composers Lab, partnerships with other organizations such as the Skoll Foundation, and the individuals supported by the program. The collection contains correspondence, reports, photographic material, interviews, publications, and press releases.

Native American & Indigenous Program Collection

(c. 1992 - Present) documents the growth of the program and its artists through the early 1990s in the Feature Film Program to the development of the Native Filmmakers Lab. The collection consists of correspondence, reports, photographic material, video recordings, publications, and press releases.

Film Music Program Collection

(c. 1986 - 1989, 1998 - Present) contains items related to the development of the Composers Lab in the mid-1980s, its resurrection in 1998, growth and influence, and the artists it has supported. The collection's contents include reports, photographic material, audio and video recordings, scores, publications, and press releases.

Sundance Film Festival Collection

(c. 1979 - 1984, 1985 - Present) documents the development, growth, and changes of the Sundance Film Festival (known as the Utah U.S. Film Festival, United States Film and Video Festival, and United States Film Festival throughout the 1980s) as well as the films screened, filmmakers supported, its events, and participants. The collection contains correspondence, reports, photographic material, interviews, audio and video recordings, publications, ephemera, press releases, and press clippings.

Community Programs Collection

(c. 1987 - Present) contains material related to past and present programs including the Sundance Children's Theatre Series, Sundance Theatre Series, Reel Stories, Outdoor Film Festival, Documentary Film Series, Art House Theatre Project, and Sundance Institute Film Series. The collection's contents include photographic material, audio and video recordings, scripts, publications, and press releases.

Special Projects and past Labs Collection

(c. 1987 - Present) documents the one off activities and events, unrelated to the collections already mentioned above, including but not limited to the Dance Lab, Directing the Actor Workshop, Writing Workshops, and Global Short Film Project. The collection contains correspondence, photographic material, video recordings, publications, and press releases.

Collection Screenings

Each year as part of our "From the Collection" series, Sundance Film Festival screens several films recently added to the archive.

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival hosted the 20th Anniversary screening of Hoop Dreams attended by filmmaker Steve James, Frederick Marx, and Peter Gilbert, as well as one of the film’s subjects, Arthur Agee, making his first trip to Sundance.

El Mariachi Q&A at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in honor of its 20th anniversary.

El Mariachi Q&A at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival
El Mariachi - Robert Rodriguez and Carlos Gallardo (Photo by Brandon Joseph Baker)

Richard's Linklater's Slacker celebrated its 20th anniversary during the 2011 Festival.

Film Preservation
Slacker - Scott Marcus, Teresa Taylor, Stella Weir

Although the primary focus of the archive is to preserve prints that might otherwise disappear, the Collection also makes them accessible to new audiences, showing them as they were intended to be seen: on the big screen.

Film Preservation
Wim Wenders at the Paris, Texas screening at the 2006 Festival

Conceived as a living archive, we hope that these works will continue to engage cinema lovers for generations to come.

The series has included El Norte, Killer of Sheep, The Connection, sex, lies and videotape, The Naked Kiss, Repo Man, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Harlan County USA, Edward II, The Living End, Blood Simple, The Times of Harvey Milk, Chameleon Street, Stranger Than Paradise, River's Edge, X: The Unheard Music, Mala Noche, Metropolitan, Poison, Wattstax, Brother From Another Planet, Shadows, and Paris, Texas.

Film Preservation
Steven Soderbergh and the cast of sex, lies, and videotape at the 2009 Festival

Archives FAQ

How do I find out what’s in your archives?
You can search our Online Archives or email us at

I saw a great film at the Festival or on the Sundance Channel. How can I access it? Do you have a copy?
Our Archives does not house actual film prints and has a very limited number of DVD screeners available only to Institute fellows and staff. Not all films screened by the Sundance Channel are Sundance Institute related and our archives is not associated with the Channel. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you may be able to view a select number of tape and DVD screeners of Institute related films from the Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film and Television Archives. The Sundance Collection is not a lending library. Tapes and DVDs are available for on-site viewing only and cannot be duplicated or checked out.

I’m working on a documentary and would like to use stock footage. Do you have any, and can I use it?
Yes. Stock footage is available. You will need to complete our request form and licensing agreement. Fees are charged for this service. Please see our fee schedule in the TERMS OF ACCESS below.

I’m doing research and read about a panel discussion from a few years ago, can I see it?
Yes. Most of our panels are available for research purposes, though many are not digitized. A duplication fee may be required. If you’d like to use the footage in a film or for broadcast purposes, you will need to complete our request form and you must receive written permission from all panelists prior to any duplication of footage.

Can I check out items from the Sundance Institute Archives?
No. Materials from the Sundance Institute Archives cannot be checked out. Xerox copies can be made of most materials for research purposes. In certain cases, written permission from the copyright holder may be required prior to duplication.

I’m publishing a book, can I reproduce one of your photos and film stills.
The Sundance Institute Archives does not own the reproduction rights to any of its film stills and photography is limited. The Archives can duplicate photographs and film stills for private research use within the parameters of the Fair Use clause of the U.S. Copyright Act. Fees are charged for this service, please see our fee schedule in the TERMS OF ACCESS below. Unless prior arrangements have been confirmed, it is up to the researcher to clear use rights with the original copyright holders.

Can you help me find out information about a film or play from the Festival or Sundance Institute Labs, i.e. if it’s available, where I can see it, who was in it?
Yes. Please email with your questions.

Do you have any volunteer or intern opportunities at the Sundance Institute Archives?
The Sundance Institute works closely with volunteers and the Archives depends greatly on the time of both volunteers and interns. Both have helped collect and maintain information for the collection. If you have an interest in working in the Archives, please search our internship opportunities or email the volunteer department at for further information.

I have a film print and related materials that I would like to donate to the Archives. Do you take donations?
The Archives only collects and maintains materials related to the Sundance Institute artist development programs and Sundance Film Festival. If you were supported by the Sundance Institute and would like to donate your film print to the Sundance Collection at UCLA, please find further information here or contact John Nein, Though space is currently very limited, please email if you would like to donate materials related to the process of making your film or play.

Terms of Access

Collection Rights and Reproductions
Reproduction Permissions and Policy for Archive Materials

Please complete a request form if you wish to access detailed information, photographs, video, audio, or printed materials from the archives. All requests will be processed and forwarded to the appropriate department. For general questions regarding requests and the Sundance Institute Archives, please see the Archives FAQ section above.

Collection Rights and Reproductions

The copyright law of the United States (17 United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Sundance Institute reserves the right to refuse a request for material if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would violate copyright law or any contractual restrictions governing the use of the material and/or damage the original. Sundance Institute further reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and organizations who have not complied with its policies.

Please note that in the absence of a fully-executed License Agreement between a user and Sundance Institute and/or the copyright owner, use of copyrighted materials obtained through the Archives or from Sundance Institute can only take place under the limited provisions of the fair-use doctrine or by obtaining permission of the copyright holder, which in some cases may be Sundance Institute. In addition, it may be necessary for a user to obtain written permission from the individuals featured in the material due to third party contractual and other restrictions regarding privacy and publicity rights, licensing and/or trademark. It is the user’s sole responsibility to obtain and pay for any and all rights, licenses, clearances, permissions, approvals, and the like that may be necessary or required with respect to his or her use of copyrighted material. Such obligation includes, without limitation, compliance with any and all applicable collective bargaining, guild, and/or performing rights society requirements and payment of any re-use and/or license fees to the appropriate person or entity and any and all obligations with respect to the use of such material required by applicable law.

In authorizing the reproduction or use of works in its collections, Sundance Institute in no way encumbers its right to use of this/these item(s) or the right to grant others permission to use it/them.

Reproduction Permissions and Policy for Archive Materials


Copyright clearance is neither given nor implied by Sundance Institute in providing digital or analog images or video copied from its collections (“material”), unless explicitly stated in a fully-executed license agreement between you and the copyright owner, which in some cases may be Sundance Institute (in each case, a “License Agreement”). Even if material has been provided to you by Sundance Institute, you may not use any such material unless and until you have entered into a License Agreement and obtained and paid for any and all third party rights, licenses, clearances, permission, and approvals required for such use.

By using the Sundance Institute Online Archives (the “Archives”) or any material contained therein or provided by Sundance Institute, you acknowledge your consent to the Archives usage policies and the terms of use of this website, each of which may be revised from time to time. In addition, you specifically agree that it is your responsibility and obligation to:

  • Understand your responsibilities and obligations under the US. Copyright Act to seek appropriate clearance to publish, broadcast, or otherwise publicly disseminate copyrighted material obtained from the Archives or provided by Sundance Institute, and obtain such clearance prior to use of any copyrighted materials.
  • Accept full responsibility for legal claims that may result from your misuse or alleged misuse of any material obtained through the Archives or provided by Sundance Institute and indemnify the Sundance Institute from all such claims;
  • Use material obtained from the Archives and/or provided by Sundance Institute only once and solely for the purpose listed in the fully-executed License Agreement between you and Sundance Institute. Any such material may not be subsequently re-used, transferred or sold to another party and any use of such material in subsequent editions and/or publications and/or versions (including, without limitation, versions in different languages) constitutes re-use and is not permitted unless specifically authorized by the License Agreement.
  • Include the proper credit for the material as indicated in the License Agreement, which such credit must in any event meet the following guidelines:
    Published materials
    : the credit line should be easily accessible.
    Films, filmstrips and video presentations
    : include the credit within the “Sources for Illustrations” or “Credits” section of the production.
    : credit should appear in the exhibition area, preferably directly below or adjacent to the original copy.
  • Provide Sundance Institute with two complimentary copies of any published work, including CD/DVD products, in which the material appears.
  • Return all reproduction materials within thirty (30) days after use. Research copies and prints for personal use may not be subsequently re-used or sold to another party.

In addition, you understand and agree that you may not, under any circumstances:

  • Alter or change the original copy of any material obtained through the Archives in any way whatsoever without prior written approval from Sundance Institute;
  • Permit or authorize others to reproduce any material obtained through the Archives or provided to you by Sundance Institute in any manner whatsoever.
  • Digitally archive or store scans of material obtained through the Archives or provided to you by Sundance Institute. All derivative digital copies of an image obtained through the Archives or provided by Sundance Institute (whether pursuant to a License Agreement or otherwise) must be deleted from your files once the licensed project has been designed and archived.


Photographs (Prints) Owned by Sundance Institute
Commercial Use License Fee: For one time use - Editorial/Web $150; Film or Video $200; Cover/Calendar/Postcard $500
Nonprofit Use License Fee: For one time use - Editorial/Web $100; Film or Video $125; Cover/Calendar/Postcard $250

Video Recordings Owned by Sundance Institute
Commercial Use License Fee: For one time use - $300 up to the first 5 minutes; $30 per minute thereafter
Nonprofit Use License Fee: For one time use - $200 up to the first 5 minutes; $20 per minute thereafter

Research Fees: Hourly rate – 1 hour minimum, $50 per hour

Other Fees: Postage $5 (U.S.), $10 (International); CD/Tape $5

Film Preservation

Despite their historical and cultural value, independent films are extremely vulnerable to loss or damage. As a result, negatives and quality prints of many seminal independent films - some made as recently as the past decade – have been lost or damaged.

For that reason, Sundance Institute and the UCLA Film & Television Archive joined forces in 1997 to establish the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA, a groundbreaking archive that exists to protect, preserve, and restore independent work.

Film Preservation
Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs

Comprised of features, documentaries, and shorts and made possible through donated prints and videos from distributors as well as hundreds of individual filmmakers, the Collection now includes over 1,900 films, including sex, lies and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, The Living End, Smoke Signals, Amores Perros, Harlan County USA, Love & Basketball, Welcome to the Dollhouse, and many other works

As the only archive of its kind, the Collection also provides a central resource for research through an extensive video library housed at the Archive Research and Study Center in UCLA's Powell Library.

What You Can Do

Help us protect your work. If your film screened at the Sundance Film Festival or was supported by any of our artist development programs, please help us establish the whereabouts and condition of your original materials (negative, IN/IP, sound masters, etc.) and consider depositing them in a proper archive like UCLA along with a print, tape master and access copy. See below to get started preserving your film!

Film Preservation
Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes

Our company donors have included Artisan Entertainment, Gramercy Pictures, Lionsgate, Miramax Films, New Line Cinema, October Films, OTM, Sony Pictures Classics, Strand Releasing, Trimark Pictures, and Zeitgeist Films. We would also like to thank the members of the Collector's Circle for their generous support of the Sundance Collection at UCLA.

Click here to learn how you can join this important group of supporters.

Get Started Preserving Your Film

If your film has played at the Sundance Film Festival or passed through any of Sundance Institute's artist development programs, we encourage you to protect it!

Film Preservation
Whit Stillman's Metropolitan

All too often, independent films fall victim to loss or damage as a result of poor storage, changing ownership, closing labs and companies, or neglect. As a result, quality prints of many films become difficult or impossible to find.

Let us help you protect your work.

Three Things You Can Do:

  1. Establish the whereabouts and condition of your negative and other irreplaceable elements and consider depositing them, along with prints and access copies, in UCLA's state-of-the-art archive facility, where they'll be properly maintained and safeguarded.
  2. Help us build the most comprehensive access library for the study of American independent cinema by donating a video copy (DVD, VHS, whatever you have) to be placed at UCLA's Archive Research and Study Center in Powell Library, where they are available only for on-site viewing to qualified researchers.
  3. Contact us. We can talk you through best archival practices.

Your work is important both to independent film and the heritage of Sundance Institute, we hope that you'll help us protect your film. Our FAQ section below should answer any questions you have about the purpose and procedures of the archive.

We look forward to hearing from you. For more information, contact

Film Preservation FAQ

Do I still own the rights? Yes. If you place negative or pre-print material in the archive, you can deposit those materials so that you can access the materials and retain all rights to them.

If you send a print or digital master to the archive, we ask that you make a property-only donation. You retain the copyright and the archive is bound by a contractual agreement that prohibits their sale or loan. Consent from the rights holder is also required for any use of the film once donated. If at some point in the future you want to screen the film at a retrospective or an event, then UCLA will honor those requests as long as they are from established venues where the projection standards do not endanger the print.

What if I have a distributor? We work with many distribution companies to ensure that their titles are safeguarded. We encourage you to bring it up with your distributor.

Is this donation tax-deductible? Yes. The agreement also entitles you to claim the fair market value of the prints and tapes you donate as a tax deduction. For amounts exceeding $5,000, the value of the prints must be independently appraised. However, we can recommend several qualified appraisers.

Where does the print go? Prints are maintained at the state-of-the-art vaults of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Will the print be used? On rare occasions, yes. The Archive is expected to provide support for The University of California's research and teaching mission by arranging individual screenings of films to qualified scholars (the purpose of donated videotapes/DVDs) and by providing prints for classroom screenings (non-admission, non-advertised screenings conducted solely in connection with regular academic courses in the UCLA Department of Film and Television). Films are screened in an auditorium on the school's premises by professional projectionists exclusively and using two projectors rather than platter systems. As a general rule, prints are not available to other colleges or universities. Any exception would require permission from the authorized rights holder(s). Films are occasionally shown in public programs, which are advertised and for which admission is charged. In such cases, advance permission from the donor and/or rights holder is arranged.

Will we be able to use the print for screenings? To some degree, frequently borrowing your print defeats the purpose of preservation, and could contribute to its deterioration. However, the archive is willing to accommodate reasonable requests when certain projection standards are met.

What if my print is not "mint" condition/35mm/etc.? As film prints are the primary focus of the preservation effort, and the easiest for us to preserve, we will be happy to accept the highest-quality print you are able to provide.

Can anyone borrow the video copy? No. The Collection is not a lending library. At UCLA, tapes and DVDs are available in the media lab in the Powell Library for on-site viewing only. They cannot be duplicated or checked out. At Sundance, they are available for viewing by staff and fellows at Sundance Institute workshops and Labs.

What else can I send? We would be happy to archive the film's press materials as well.

Can you cover the cost of shipping my print? We usually can. Just contact us and we'll make arrangements for your shipment.

For more information, contact