Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Open Call For Applications Closes April 17
By: Paola Mottura, Director, Documentary Film Fund
We are excited to share a meaningful addition and reaffirm our priorities for the granting we do as part of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund. Thanks to a new three-year partnership between our nonprofit and the John Templeton Foundation, we are able to increase the size of our granting pool by $500,000 per year, which enables the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund to double the size of its grants across the board, from development to post-production. Starting with the current Open Call for applications (deadline April 17), we will award selected projects at the development stage grants of up to $40,000 and Production and Post-Production grants of up to $100,000.
The support of the John Templeton Foundation will enable us to champion, at all stages of their life cycles from development through post-production, a host of innovative and daring nonfiction storytelling projects aligned with Templeton’s mission of inspiring awe and wonder and advancing our understanding of the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. As part of this new funding, we welcome submissions for projects embracing a wide range of storytelling and aesthetic approaches that facilitate intellectual exploration of broader themes at the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology, including but not limited to evolution, infinity, time, altruism, creativity, free will, generosity, gratitude, forgiveness, intellect, love, and purpose.
“We are grateful that the John Templeton Foundation is deepening the funding support we provide to nonfiction storytellers. They join our funder community in highly turbulent times for the industry, when funding and distribution avenues for urgent, risk-taking, and creative independent nonfiction work are dwindling and sustainability for independent artists and the art form itself is increasingly concerning. In this climate, non-recoupable granting remains a Documentary Film Program priority, and more sizable grants are a vital intervention to ensuring that urgent and artful films make it to the finish line. Larger grants allow artists to gain greater momentum in their fundraising efforts, to advance production in a more timely manner, and to assume less personal financial risk,” said Paola Mottura, Director, Documentary Film Fund.
The Sundance Documentary Fund celebrates excellence in craft, clarity in vision, and a deep connection to the stories being told, supporting predominantly productions with budgets under $1 million where the creative and editorial control is held within the core creative team. In our funding we will continue to uplift productions led by artists from communities that have been traditionally marginalized (e.g., artists who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities), unearthing historically underrepresented narratives. We remain committed to elevating voices beyond our borders, celebrating the rich diversity of filmmaking traditions around the world. Our current international priorities are artists living and working in regions that lack a robust infrastructure of support for independent film, regions of conflict, and countries where freedom of expression is under threat.
With equity and accessibility as core values, for the second year, the Sundance Documentary Fund is implementing an application assistance program for artists with disabilities. Artists who self-identify as having a physical or cognitive disability may request assistance at any stage of the application process. Support includes a stipend for the artist to hire an ASL interpreter and translator or to utilize for transcription and editing purposes, as well as to gather materials required to submit a grant application. To request assistance and for additional information, applicants can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for supporting our mission. We look forward to seeing your latest work!