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Sundance Institute Launches New Initiative to Support Inventive Artistic Practice in Nonfiction Film

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute, one of the world’s largest grantmakers to documentary film, today announced the ‘Art of Nonfiction’ initiative, which will expand the Institute’s existing support for documentaries exploring contemporary social issues to include targeted creative and financial support for documentary filmmakers exploring inventive artistic practice in story, craft and form. As part of the initiative, the Institute has selected Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine), Margaret Brown (The Order of Myths), and Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk) as the first Art of Nonfiction fellows. The initiative launches with editorial and financial support from Cinereach.

The Art of Nonfiction includes both a Fellowship for filmmakers and resources to help them build sustainable creative practices. Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, developed this initiative in response to the lack of support for many exciting artists working today who take a bold, inventive cinematic approach to their documentary work (The Act of Killing, Man on Wire, 20,000 Days on Earth, Leviathan) as well as those pushing the boundaries of the form with elements including animation and performance (Stories We Tell, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Cutie and the Boxer, The Arbor).

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute, said, “Our new Art of Nonfiction initiative allows us to discover, celebrate and support the creative pioneers of this advancing documentary art form that has always been so important to Sundance Institute.”

Jackson said, “This initiative represents our renewed thinking about how we, as a funder and creative resource, can experiment with our programs to better serve the needs of filmmakers who are experimenting with their own work. We hope this more robust infrastructure of support will bring the community together as we look to advance the understanding and practice of nonfiction film.”

Sundance Institute has a long history and firm commitment to championing documentaries, including awarding over $2 million to documentary projects in 2015. The Art of Nonfiction seeks to bring focus to the creative practice of artists as a complement to the current range of Grants, Labs, Fellowships and strategic advice from development through distribution offered by the DFP. Recent documentary projects supported by the Institute include The Look of Silence, Cartel Land, Citizenfour, Rich Hill, The Hunting Ground and The Pearl Button.

Applications for the Art of Nonfiction Fellowship are accepted by invitation only. More information about the Institute’s Documentary Film Program is available at sundance.org/documentary.


The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is made possible by founding support from Open Society Foundations. Generous additional support is provided by Skoll Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Ford Foundation; The Charles Engelhard Foundation; Arcus Foundation; Cinereach; Discovery Channel; Liminal Fund; City Drive Films; Time Warner Foundation; CNN Films; ESPN Films; the Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation; National Geographic; Anonymous (2); Compton Foundation; SundanceNow Doc Club; Threshold Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Code Blue Foundation; The Fledgling Fund; Joy Family Foundation; Kenneth Cole Productions; PBS; Signal Media Project; and WNET New York Public Media.


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. JoinSundance Institute onFacebook,Instagram,Twitter andYouTube.

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Download a PDF version of this news release.

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