National Endowment for the Arts Announces Grant to Sundance Institute

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LOS ANGELES, CA—Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, today announced that Sundance Institute has been recommended for a grant of $150,000 to support the Institute’s work in feature film. Sundance Institute is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.

The NEA additionally awarded a grant of $30,000 in March of this year to support the 2011 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.

An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.”

“The nonprofit Sundance Institute was founded by Robert Redford in 1981 with an initial grant from the NEA, and we rely heavily on these types of grants to sustain our work,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute. “At a time when funding for the arts is under constant siege, we are especially grateful for the NEA’s recognition of our work worldwide. This grant will support our labs for Screenwriters, Directors and Composers, our Creative Producing Fellowship and Summit, and our Screenplay Reading series, as well as sustain the year-round continuum of both creative and business artist support for which we are known,” Putnam added.

In addition to critical funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sundance Institute also Sundance Institute gratefully acknowledges the following donors for their generous support: 34th Street Films; American Honda Motor Co., Inc.;  Creative Artists Agency; Director’s Guild of America; Indian Paintbrush Productions; Luma Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mumbai Mantra Media, Ltd.; NHK Enterprises 21, Inc.; SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild; Sundial Pictures, LLC; Writer’s Guild of America, West; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; The Annenberg Foundation; Cinereach Ltd.; Doris Duke Foundation Endowment; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; The James Irvine Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Shubert Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Theatre Communications Group; Time Warner Inc.; the Zygmunt & Audrey Wilf Foundation; John August; Linda Taylor and Lawrence Bender; Stephen Denkers Willard Eccles Foundation; Eve Ensler; Sheila C. Johnson; Christopher McQuarrie; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort and the United States Embassy in Kenya.

About Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program
Rooted in the recognition of a rich tradition of story telling and artistic expression by Native Americans, Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program scouts worldwide and across the United States for Indigenous artists with projects that can be supported through the Institute’s Feature Film Program, Documentary Program, Theatre Program, the Independent Producers Conference/Creative Producing Initiative, and Sundance Film Festival.  The Program also operates the NativeLab Fellowship established for emerging Native American filmmakers.   Filmmakers and projects identified for support include Sterlin Harjo, his Spirit Award-nominated Four Sheets to the Wind and his follow-up feature Barking Water; Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi, his feature debut Eagle vs Shark and his follow-up feature Boy; Billy Luther’s award-winning Miss Navajo and his 2nd feature documentary Grab; And, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize winning Sikumi and his feature debut On The Ice which was awarded the Crystal Bear Award and the Best First Feature Prize at the 61st Berlinale.  Forthcoming projects include: Aurora Guerrero’s Mosquita Y Mari; Sydney Freeland’s Drunktown’s Finest; and Yolanda Cruz’s La Raya.

Since 1981, the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program (FFP) has supported more than 450 independent filmmakers whose distinctive, singular work has engaged audiences worldwide.  The program’s approach to the discovery and development of independent artists has become a model for creative development programs internationally. Program staff fully embrace the unique vision of each filmmaker, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply personal storytelling.  Each year, up to 25 emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and around the world participate in a year-round continuum of support which can include the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, Creative Producing Fellowship and Lab, Composers Lab, Creative Producing Summit, ongoing creative and strategic advice, significant production and postproduction resources, a Rough-Cut Screening Initiative, a Screenplay Reading Series, and direct financial support through project-specific grants and artist fellowships. In many cases, the Institute has helped the Program’s fellows attach producers and talent, secure financing, and assemble other significant resources to move their projects toward production and presentation. In addition, the FFP is providing strategic resources to completed Lab films in distribution and marketing across all platforms to support and expand their connection to audiences worldwide.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.  To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

About Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

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Media Contact:
Kris Parker

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