The Latest

Sundance Institute Announces Latest Documentary Fund Grantees

22 Projects from 19 Countries Receive Unrestricted Support
Sundance Institute today named the global cohort of 22 independent nonfiction filmmakers and their
projects that comprise the latest Grantees of the Institute’s Documentary Fund.
Grant support, unrestricted and totaling $520,000, will be extended to projects in all stages of development, production, post-production and audience engagement; grants are made possible by Open
Society Foundations and MacArthur Foundation, along with a custom grant provided by A&E IndieFilms: the
Sundance Institute | A&E Brave Storytellers Award
, for projects which capture an ethos of
courageous nonfiction filmmaking. This granting cycle’s supported projects come from nineteen countries
across five continents, with just over 50% originating from outside the U.

Safe and Secure Guidelines for Documentary Filmmakers During COVID-19

Should I be filming now at all?
This is the big question.
Many independent filmmakers are asking it of themselves and each other right now in the midst of COVID-19.
Is it possible to film safely now, or anytime soon, given how infectious this coronavirus is?
Every day at Sundance, we and our colleagues in the field are discussing and debating this question, as Carrie Lozano of the Independent Documentary Association poignantly describes in a recent article.

Sundance Institute Announces 2020 New Frontier Story Lab Fellows

Groundbreaking Group of Emerging Media Creatives Convene to Push the Boundaries of Storytelling and Technology
Los Angeles, CA — Six projects and artist teams have been selected for the 2020 Sundance Institute New Frontier Story Lab, which supports independent artists working at the cutting-edge convergence of film, art, media, live performance, and technology.
Reimagined for this year as a digital experience on Sundance Co//ab, the New Frontier Story Lab empowers independent creatives through individual story sessions, conversations about key artistic, design and technology issues, and case study presentations from Creative Advisors and Industry mentors across multiple disciplines. The Lab takes place May 12-19, with weekly sessions continuing through July 28th, under the leadership of Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Founding Director Michelle Satter and Interim Director of New Frontier Labs Ruthie Doyle.

12 Short Plays Made to Perform at Home, by Sundance Theatre Program Alumni

With so many playwrights and directors seeing their productions closed early, postponed, or, worst of all, canceled due to the impacts of COVID-19, new creative solutions are allowing creators to continue sharing their stories. Some theatres have taken to digital programming or adapting their commissions to be “listen-only,” and some artists are now sharing stories with audiences independently via social media. Play At Home, a new initiative launched by a group of regional and off-Broadway theatres, is offering its own solution for playwrights and audiences alike: it’s commissioning playwrights to write 10-minute plays that you can perform at home with your family members or roommates, or even by yourself.

Lucía Garibaldi on Making Her Debut Feature, ‘Los Tiburones,’ Now on VOD

When she was shooting Los Tiburones (The Sharks) in a coastal town about 150 kilometers from Montevideo, Uruguay, Lucía Garibaldi had no idea the kind of reception her debut coming-of-age feature was about to receive. “We had no previous experience with anything like this, so we really went into it without having any idea what was going to happen, how it was going to be, what kind of audience we’d find,” she told us when we caught up with her via email recently ahead of the film’s VOD release.
The film not only found an audience but had its world premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where Garibaldi won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic.

Preserving the Record: Why Storytelling Is So Vital in Times Like These

“At some point, your own story becomes history.” — David France, director of How to Survive a Plague
of the biggest moments and movements in modern human history have been
(or are being) carefully documented by independent artists working in
film, theatre, VR, music, and beyond—not to mention protesters on the ground in cities across our country.
In honor of Preservation Week in April, we took some time to recognize storytellers and those responsible for safekeeping and sharing our collective stories for generations to come.

Sundance Selections to Watch in May, from ‘Ema’ to ‘Infiltrators’ and ‘Spaceship Earth’

Film lovers are getting a rare treat in May, with free access to Pablo Larraín’s Ema on streaming platform MUBI on May 1—offered as a one-day sneak preview ahead of the wide release later this year. With elegant choreography and masterful performances from Mariana Di Girolamo and Gael García Bernal, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection is an intoxicating window into family dysfunction. Alongside Ema in this month’s release lineup is Rashaad Ernesto Green’s artful coming-of-age portrait from 2019, Premature, full of breakout talent including co-writer and breakout lead Zora Howard.

The Ultimate Sundance Watchlist: A Film to Stream for Every Year of the Festival

THE SUNDANCE INSTITUTE IS NOW ON LETTERBOXD! Follow us on the social media platform for more Festival-related watchlists and exclusive content.
For those of us who really, really love movies, there’s nothing quite
like the experience of watching a film flicker to life on a big screen
in the company of a captive (and captivated) audience. However, these
are strange times, and as we adjust to the reality that it may be a
while before we’re able to file into theaters once again, we’ve been
finding new ways to commune with our fellow cinephiles.

8 Key Independent Films to Watch on Autism Awareness Day

In celebration of Friday, April 2, aka World Autism Awareness Day, we’ve rounded up a wide range of Sundance-supported films celebrating neurodiversity that you’ll want to add to your weekend watchlist. Start with the Academy Award–winning documentary Life, Animated by Roger Ross Williams, a selection from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and don’t miss Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini’s documentary Dina, which won the U.S.

Q&A: A Chat with ‘Selah and the Spades’ Writer/Director Tayarisha Poe

Selah and the Spades begins streaming on Amazon Prime today.
While Philadelphia-born filmmaker Tayarisha Poe did in fact attend boarding school when she was growing up, she’s quick to note that there aren’t a whole lot of similarities between herself and her Selah and the Spades protagonist, Selah Summers. “I tend to write fictional characters doing the things that I wish I could do, or that I don’t have the guts to do.

Listen to This: Some of Our Favorite Sundance Film Scores

“A film composer can be dubbed an auteur in the same sense as a filmmaker,” Katy Jarzebowski told us a few years ago when we quizzed a few fellows from our Film Music Sound Design Lab (psst—applications are open for the 2020 lab through April 20) about their favorite film scores. Jarzebowski waxed poetic on Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands score, while Ryan Cohan expressed his admiration for Bernard Herrmann’s work in Taxi Driver and K.T.

The Producers of ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ on Shifting the Film’s Release to VOD

Less than three months ago, the team behind Never Rarely Sometimes Always was in Park City premiering the project at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize for Neo-Realism. Eliza Hittman’s incredibly moving, visceral film—about two teenagers from rural Pennsylvania who travel to New York City so one of them can get an abortion—went on to win the Silver Bear in Berlin in late February ahead of the film’s theatrical release on March 13. Just a few days later, movie theaters around the country started closing due to the growing threat of COVID-19.

20 Films Sundance Programmers Are Watching from Home

As Sundance Institute adapts its artist support programs to continue providing resources for independent storytellers amid global uncertainty, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the work that has previously come through our labs and Festival.
Here are a few recommendations from our programming team for films you can stream at home—from suddenly more-relatable-than-ever stories about people in isolation to thoughtful portraits that remind us of our shared humanity, to off-the-wall comedies that can provide a moment of levity in uneasy times. As we are acutely reminded of the power of art in our everyday lives, Sundance Institute remains committed to supporting the voices that enrich our world.

From the Fest: Eliza Hittman’s Neorealist Drama ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’

Eliza Hittman’s latest film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, won prizes at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it had its debut, and at Berlinale, where it was awarded the Silver Bear. Below, hear what Hittman and her two lead actresses had to say at the Festival in January, and see photos from the premiere. Watch the trailer here.