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Sundance Institute Receives Academy Grants to Support Artist Development Programs for Underrepresented Filmmakers

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Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute announced today that it has been awarded two grants from The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to support professional training and development for emerging feature film artists from nontraditional backgrounds. The grants, which were made through the Academy’s Grants and Nicholl Fellowships programs, support the Institute’s 2016 Native Filmmakers Lab and the Feature Film Program’s June Screenwriters Lab.

A $17,500 FilmCraft grant has been given to the Institute’s Native Program for its 2016 Native Filmmakers Lab. The Native program has built and sustained a unique support cycle for Indigenous artists through grants, labs, mentorships, fellowships, the platform of the Sundance Film Festival and screenings for Native communities to inspire new generations of storytellers. Currently operating programs in the United States, Canada, and formerly New Zealand and Australia, the Institute has established a rich legacy of work by supporting more than 300 Native and Indigenous filmmakers, including Taika Waititi, Chris Eyre, Sterlin Harjo, Billy Luther, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, Aurora Guerrero, Sydney Freeland, Blake Pickens and Ciara Lacy.

A $20,000 grant from the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting program is going to fund two Sundance Institute | Academy Nicholl Honorees from underrepresented groups in the Institute’s June Screenwriters Lab, a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers, in an environment that encourages innovation, creative risk-taking and original storytelling. Several films supported by the Feature Film Program premiered earlier this year at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, including Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award-winner The Birth of a Nation, written and directed by Nate Parker and winner of the Directing Prize, Swiss Army Man, co-written and co-directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as DANIELS.

The nonprofit Sundance Institute relies on the generosity of corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals who share a commitment to nurturing new artists, supporting unique and diverse creative voices, and furthering the reach of independent feature and documentary films around the world. All funds offset the Institute’s year-round programs for artists, including Labs, grants and the Sundance Film Festival.

The Academy Grants program provides financial support to qualifying film festivals, educational institutions and film scholars and supports the Academy’s overall mission: to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Download a PDF version of this news release.

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