PARK CITY, UTAH — Fifteen emerging storytellers from Chile, India, Kenya, Tunisia and the U.S. will convene digitally for Sundance Institute’s January Screenwriters Lab, taking place online via Sundance Co//ab from January 11–15, 2021.
An inventive horror film about a Scottish film censor who begins to unravel when she’s assigned to review a rather disturbing film; a whimsical coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old who is struggling to cope with the death of her mother; a moody tale set in the countryside of France that delves into the complexity of polyamory… These are just a few of the geographically diverse, genre-spanning stories being told at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival by women filmmakers in their first features. If you’re looking for some documentary fare, you can experience the transformative dance of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in Ailey, or follow chief reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions and emerge as India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women in Writing with Fire, or watch as students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents in At the Ready.In the Festival’s New Frontier section—which highlights work by independent artists and creative technologists innovating the art and form of story at the convergence of diverse forms of creative expression—you won’t want to miss women-led projects like Beyond the Breakdown, a world-building browser performance where Festivalgoers engage with an AI + human collaborative team, created by a trio of artists including Women at Sundance Fellows Lauren Lee McCarthy and Grace Lee, Traveling the Interstitium with Octavia Butler, inspired by the ideas of the late great science-fiction writer; 4 Feet High VR, an immersive work that centers around the perspective of a 17-year-old wheelchair user as she navigates her new high school; and Prison X – Chapter 1: The Devil and the Sun, which takes the audience into the dreams and nightmares that inhabit an infamous Bolivian jail.
Gathering together at the start of each year in Utah is part of the fiber of the Sundance Film Festival. Because of the pandemic, we formed a new plan this year: an adaptation of the Festival to an online platform where our local Utah audiences, as well as those who would have traveled to Utah, can gather safely in their respective homes to participate in the Festival. The safety and well-being of our audiences, community and staff is the most important thing to us.
PARK CITY, UTAH — The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the showcase of new independent work selected across the Feature Film, Short Film, Indie Series and New Frontier categories for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will take place digitally via a feature-rich, Sundance-built online platform and in person on Satellite Screens across the country (public health permitting) from January 28-February 3, 2021. Additionally, Festival attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new, inspired online environments to interact in a range of ways both new and familiar.
The Sundance Institute, The Kendeda Fund, and TIME Studios Launch $250k Short Film Fund Addressing Gun Violence in America
Paola Mottura is the Sundance Institute’s Film Fund manager. Today she’s sharing details on a new partnership between the Institute, The Kendeda Fund, and TIME Studios.The past year has been a difficult one for most of us, between the sickness, isolation, anxiety, and crushing financial realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities across the country.
Ever wonder why certain older independent films are only available on blurry VHS, scratchy bootleg, or out-of-print (aka $$$) DVDs, if they’re available at all? As our Sundance Institute archives team will tell you, there are all sorts of reasons some films remain elusive, even after racking up awards and accolades. Take Steve Brand’s 1985 documentary Kaddish, for instance, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival: The film’s original distributor lost the original negative and interpositive, meaning the film has been all but lost to modern audiences—until now.
Kaddish is one of four projects to be selected for the 2020 Preservation Fund, an initiative that aims to preserve works of artistic and historical significance that have shaped the heritage of both Sundance Institute and independent storytelling at large.
IllumiNative, Sundance Institute and The Black List Announce Inaugural Indigenous Screenwriting List
December 8th, 2020, Los Angeles, California – In collaboration with IllumiNative and Sundance Institute, The Black List today announced the nine scripts selected for the inaugural Indigneous List, highlighting the very best Indigenous film and television writers living and working within the United States.
Eligible writers were able to submit their scripts for consideration via blcklst.com from June 24th through September 27th, 2020.
For more than 20 years now, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has supported the work of nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Previous recipients have included projects like Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s Crip Camp, Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, and Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons. This year, as we open our latest call for applicants, the fund’s director, Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, is writing to explain some recent changes to the process.
Festival Offers Robust Online Platform and Announces Screening Partnerships with
Independent Cinemas and Cultural Organizations
PARK CITY, UTAH — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today unveiled plans for the seven-day 2021 Sundance Film Festival, offered digitally via a custom-designed online platform (festival.sundance.org) alongside drive-ins, independent arthouses, and a network of local community partnerships.
How do you like your holiday-season films? Heartwarming? Romantic? Perhaps complex and a bit disturbing? December’s giant crop of Sundance-supported new releases have all your bases covered, providing fodder for every kind of moviegoer as we wrap up 2020 and look ahead to our next crop of Festival selections.
On the heartwarming tip, keep an eye out for the opening of Lee Isaac Chung’s sweet family drama Minari, which will roll out to select theaters in L.A.
LOS ANGELES — The Sundance Institute and Peter Luo’s Starlight Media (Crazy Rich Asians, Midway, Marshall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) have partnered to launch a new grant program, the Sundance Institute | Stars Collective Granting Fund, to support diverse filmmakers.Both Starlight and Sundance Institute share a deep commitment to supporting artists from historically marginalized communities. Tapping into an initial fund of $200,000 provided by Starlight, this new program will provide unrestricted grants, ranging from $1,500 to $10,000, to diverse filmmakers working in nonfiction and fiction.
November is Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate, the Sundance Institute is running a weekly series, Vision & Voice: Indigenous Cinema Now, profiling artists who have been supported by the Institute’s Indigenous Program throughout its history. Over the course of the month, Indigenous Program associate director Adam Piron has talked to Navajo filmmaker Blackhorse Lowe, Native Hawaiian writer/director Ciara Lacy, and Seneca-Cayuga filmmaker Erica Tremblay.
Today, to close out the month, Piron is talking to Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga), whose feature maɬni—towards the ocean, towards the shore premiered at the 2020 Festival.
New Collaboration with NBCUniversal to Support Underrepresented Filmmakers in Building Sustainable Careers
Los Angeles – Sundance Institute announced today the third class of the Momentum Fellowship, a full-year program of deep, customized creative and professional support for mid-career writers and directors from underrepresented communities who are poised to take the next step in their careers in fiction and documentary filmmaking.
The fellowship includes an unrestricted grant funding, industry mentorship, professional coaching offered by Renee Freedman & Company supported by The Harnisch Foundation, writing workshops and industry meetings in Spring 2021, and bespoke year-round support from Sundance Institute staff. Additionally, the FilmTwo Fellowship has merged into the Momentum Fellowship, and NBCUniversal will provide an opportunity for select Momentum fellows working on fiction projects to participate in the Universal Directors Initiative.
The Future Is Ours: Filmmakers Sam Feder and Yance Ford on Bringing Visibility to the Multitude of Trans Experiences
At the Sundance Institute, we have stood with independent storytellers for nearly four decades, amplifying the voices of artists from a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. As leaders in the industry, we have a responsibility to amplify and support transgender voices and stories, to follow the lead of transgender advocates, and to create opportunities for transgender people.
Today, as we observe the 21st annual Transgender Day of Remembrance—and celebrate the resilience and importance of trans people in our communities every day—we want to underline that trans artists and trans stories will always have a place in the Sundance community: a place to cultivate their artistic craft, community, and most importantly, their joy.
Vision & Voice: Seneca-Cayuga Filmmaker Erica Tremblay on Challenging Western Notions of Indigenous Narratives
November is Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate, the Sundance Institute is running a weekly series, Vision & Voice: Indigenous Cinema Now, profiling artists who have been supported by the Institute’s Indigenous Program throughout its history. So far, we’ve talked to Navajo filmmaker Blackhorse Lowe and Native Hawaiian writer/director Ciara Lacy, and this week, we’re chatting with Seneca-Cayuga filmmaker Erica Tremblay, whose film Little Chief played at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Tremblay brought Little Chief—a short about a Native woman and a troubled young boy whose lives intersect over the course of a school day on a reservation in Oklahoma—through the Native Filmmakers Lab in 2018, and she’s currently working on a script for her first feature.