Labs, Fellowships, Grants, Programs
Support for Independent Storytellers
“Sundance deepens the resolve of artists, bringing them together in a creative community so that they know they are not alone.” — Robert Redford, President and Founder
The Sundance Institute’s artist programs provide dynamic support at every step of the creative journey for individuals with distinct voices in film and episodic storytelling. Each program consists of labs, grants, intensives, sessions, and ongoing resources for artists to nurture their projects and sustain their careers. Through year-round activities, we provide the space for artists to create and share their stories with the world. Since our inception, the Institute’s programs have supported more than 11,000 artists and fostered a community for independent storytellers to learn, grow, connect, and give back.
Labs, Grants, and Fellowships
At the Institute’s core is a commitment to champion the creation of unique work by individual storytellers. Through open applications and by invitation, we offer labs, grants, intensives, mentorships with accomplished professionals, and ongoing support to advance the development, production, and completion of independent work.
We encourage artists from around the world to apply for our programs.
View our open and upcoming applications on our deadlines page.
Launched in 2021, Artist Accelerator Program provides leadership and strategy across Sundance Institute’s granting initiatives, pilots cross-disciplinary funding opportunities to propel artists along their professional and project journeys and engages in industry innovation to build a more equitable and transparent field.
Each year, the invitation-only Catalyst Forum introduces prospective financiers to a slate of 10 to 12 top-notch, Sundance Institute–supported documentary and fiction projects seeking financing. Through project presentations, individually scheduled meetings, and informal social gatherings, investors interface directly with filmmakers, top advisors, and Institute program leadership.
The Documentary Film Program provides financial and creative resources to nonfiction filmmakers around the world. Through open applications, the Documentary Fund provides more than two million dollars in nonrecoupable film financing each year, and labs focused on editing and producing support both emerging and experienced makers. DFP-supported artists also receive ongoing strategic and creative support throughout the life cycle of their film.
Over the past six years, we have witnessed an explosion in the opportunities available for writers developing episodic content for cable and online platforms. We have seen audiences and critics embrace the bold vision and complex characters that are thriving in cable drama and comedy. The internet has become both a place to pilot stories for traditional media and to create entertainment content for the growing audience watching on mobile devices.
The Feature Film Program embraces the discovery and development of independent filmmakers from the U.S. and around the world, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply resonant storytelling. Artists typically enter the program though the Screenwriters Lab (held annually in January) or the Screenwriters Intensive (held annually in March) through open application to the Development Track. Through this platform, eligible artists can also be considered for the Sundance Institute Comedy Fellowship, and Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship.
Sundance Ignite is a program designed to inspire a new generation of audience members and film artists around the power of storytelling. The program offers individuals ages 18 to 24 the Ignite Ticket Package, an exclusive chance to see the newest films at the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship Program, a competitive and year-round Festival and industry experience.
Sundance Institute’s commitment to supporting Native American artists is woven throughout our history. From labs and fellowships to screenings and gatherings around the world, the Indigenous Program’s offerings are designed in response to the specific needs of Native and Indigenous storytellers.
Outreach & Inclusion
Our Outreach & Inclusion Program builds upon the Institute’s commitment to support and celebrate voices from historically underrepresented communities. across all of the Institute’s artistic disciplines. Through our Knight-supported regional sessions and Intensives, the Momentum Fellowship for midcareer artists, the Launch Grant for first-time feature filmmakers, this program nurtures storytellers from historically marginalized ethnicities, abilities, genders, regions, and orientations in bespoke and customized engagement
Recognizing the crucial role that independent producers play in finding, championing, and shaping original voices in filmmaking, the Producers Program supports both fiction and nonfiction producers at all stages of their feature-length projects and their careers—through a year-round continuum of support, including labs, fellowships, intensives, grants, networking events, funding, and educational resource opportunities. Through these activities, producers create community with fellow producers and industry, hone creative skills, gain knowledge of the field, and develop strategies for pitching, producing, financing, and releasing their films.
Women At Sundance
Women at Sundance is dedicated to creating gender equity in American media and innovating ways for women to succeed as storytellers who shape our cultural landscape. We support women filmmakers to grow and sustain their careers through a yearlong fellowship program, an annual financing intensive, and community events throughout the year. We collaborate in the field to activate systemic change through ReFrame, a project that partners with Women in Film Los Angeles and industry insiders to forge gender parity at every level in film, TV, and media.
In light of the financial impact of the pandemic, Sundance Institute opted to scale back some programs and find new ways to support artists who are at the heart of our nonprofit mission. Regretfully, we are pausing the Film Music Program for the next year.
We have always celebrated exploring the unknown, and we’re looking forward to serving you—our artists, advisors/mentors, fellows, alumni, and community—as part of the newly-formed Sundance Interdisciplinary Program (along with also-paused New Frontier and Theater programs). We’ll be figuring out next steps in the Fall of 2020. A huge thank you for being a part of this community!
In light of the financial impact of the pandemic, Sundance Institute opted to scale back some programs and find new ways to support artists who are at the heart of our nonprofit mission. Regretfully, we are pausing the Theater Program for the next year.
We have always celebrated exploring the unknown, and we’re looking forward to serving you—our artists, advisors/mentors, fellows, alumni, and community—as part of the newly-formed Sundance Interdisciplinary Program (along with also-paused Film Music and New Frontier programs). We’ll be figuring out next steps in the Fall of 2020. A huge thank you for being a part of this community!
In response to challenging times, in 2020 the Institute united its Film Music, New Frontier Labs, and Theater programs to create the Interdisciplinary Program, which brings a holistic approach and an equitable focus to supporting theater, composing, emerging media, and innovative cross-disciplinary artists. Cultivating the cross-pollination of creators at various stages in their respective practices, the Interdisciplinary Program fosters a dynamic, year-round interdisciplinary community, bridging silos by scaffolding experimentation and collaboration.
In light of the financial impact of the pandemic, Sundance Institute opted to scale back some programs and find new ways to support artists who are at the heart of our nonprofit mission. Regretfully, we are pausing the New Frontier Lab programs for the next year, and we do not plan to host a 2021 Story Lab.
We have always celebrated exploring the unknown, and we’re looking forward to serving you—our artists, advisors/mentors, fellows, alumni, and community—as part of the newly-formed Sundance Interdisciplinary Program (along with also-paused Film Music and Theatre programs). We’ll be figuring out next steps in the Fall of 2020. A huge thank you for being a part of this community!
Sundance Collab is a free-to-join global learning and storytelling community for creators, featuring opportunities to get advice, personalized feedback, and resources, while forging new connections with other artists. Learn, share, and connect. Join now.
Code of Conduct
All Sundance Institute programs—including our labs, intensives, and sessions—are environments where bold, creative, and distinctive voices are celebrated. Sundance Institute is committed to allowing attendees to experience these programs free of harassment, discrimination, sexism, and threatening or disrespectful behavior. We reserve the right, without notice or refund of any related costs, to limit or revoke access to our programs for those who engage in such conduct. If you are involved in or witness something that violates this code of conduct, please notify someone on our staff, and we will work swiftly and discreetly to take appropriate action. For emergencies, immediately dial 9-1-1.