Overview of Opportunities

Support for Independent Storytellers

At the Institute’s core is a commitment to champion the creation of unique work by individual storytellers. Through ticketed events, open applications, and by invitation, we offer workshops, residential Labs, Grants, mentorships with accomplished professionals, and ongoing support to advance the development and production of independent work.

We encourage artists from around the world to apply for our Programs

  • The Documentary Film Program supports the development, production and presentation of nonfiction films around the world. The Documentary Fund provides $1M-$2M in non-recoupable financing annually to documentary filmmakers selected through an open application process. The Program invites Grantees to participate in the Documentary Edit and Story Lab, Music and Sound Design Lab for Documentary Film, and provides ongoing advice and resources throughout the filmmaking process. Learn More

  • The Feature Film Program embraces the discovery and development of independent filmmakers, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply resonant storytelling. The January Screenwriters Lab is the point of entry to the program, where 12 filmmakers are selected through an open application process.

    Following the January Lab, the FFP provides year-round support through a wide range of Labs, mentoring, customized creative and tactical support and granting through the FFP Fund.

    In addition to the Screenwriters Lab, the FFP offers open applications to the Creative Producing Fellowship, Sundance Institute/Asian American Feature Film Fellowship and Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship. Learn More

  • Each summer, Sundance Institute holds Music and Sound Design Labs for composers and filmmakers working on feature and documentary films. Selected through an open application process, composers gain first-hand experience composing for film while in residence at Skywalker Ranch.

    The Program’s Day Labs provide opportunities for more composers and directors to hear from leaders in the field and gain insights into the art and business of scoring film. Learn More

  • New Frontier at Sundance Institute is a dynamic initiative that identifies and fosters independent artists working at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology. Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival has provided the highest level of curation in the emerging field, showcasing fiction, non-fiction and hybrid storytelling with installations, performances and films. The New Frontier Story Lab provides a space for the creative development of this work. Participation in the Lab and the Festival is by invitation only. Learn More

  • Sundance Institute's commitment to supporting Native American artists is woven throughout our history. From Labs to Fellowships to screenings and gatherings around the world, the Program’s offerings are designed in response to the specific needs of Native storytellers. We encourage filmmakers to apply for the Time Warner Native Producing Fellowship. Learn More

  • The Sundance Institute Theatre Program advances the work of risk-taking theatre artists by providing rare developmental opportunities that support artists throughout their careers. By providing a continuum of creative support, we ultimately hope to contribute to a meaningful and engaging cultural dialogue between artists and their audiences. Led by Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Sundance Institute Theatre Program focuses on the development of new work for the stage. In response to the changing needs of the field, the Theatre Program hosts a range of creative Labs & Retreats throughout the year. Learn More

  • The Creative Distribution Initiative empowers filmmakers navigating the changing business of independent film. The program provides support and insights on creative funding, marketing, and distribution. Learn More

  • The Creative Producing Initiative encompasses a year-round series of Labs, Fellowships, and events focusing not only on nurturing the next generation of independent producers, but renewing the community of veteran producers dedicated to sustaining the vibrancy and vitality of independent film. Learn More

  • Over the past five 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. Learn More

  • Sundance Ignite is a program designed to excite a new generation of audience members and film artists around the power of storytelling. The program offers individuals ages 18-24 the Ignite Ticket Package, an exclusive chance to see the newest films at the Sundance Film Festival; the Ignite Fellows Program, a competitive and year-round Festival and industry experience; and Sundance Ignite On Tour, a traveling component designed to engage with students and emerging filmmakers. Learn More

  • The invitation-only Catalyst Forum, held every autumn at the Sundance Resort, offers a small group of prospective financiers the opportunity to meet the creative teams behind 12 highly-anticipated feature and documentary film projects, handpicked by Sundance Institute’s Program Directors. Learn More

  • Sundance Institute, together with Women in Film-LA and a group of allied organizations in the field of women and media, works to foster gender equality in American independent cinema. Resources for project development, securing financing, and finding audiences are offered to women filmmakers who are alumnae of Institute Programs. Learn More

  • Our Diversity Initiative builds upon the Institute’s commitment to develop and celebrate voices beyond the mainstream. Working across all of the Institute’s Programs, this work reaches into new communities of storytellers and audiences across regions, genres, ethnicities, gender and orientation. Learn More


Open to all artists, and held around the country, Workshops and Day Labs offer participants premium resources and expert advice on topics ranging from screenwriting to digital distribution. These intensive versions of our Lab experience provide opportunities for artists to be inspired in their storytelling and empowered to advance their projects to the next phase.

  • New Frontier Public Sessions and Intensives are designed expand participants' creative practices, to further their contribution to the evolution of story, and to spark innovation within their organizations. With a focus on the art of story and new technologies available, participants will:

    • Explore field defining projects,
    • Discuss the technological and cultural shifts that enabled these projects,
    • Learn about emerging creative practices and tools,
    • And be in direct conversation with New Frontier

    Learn More

  • Through a series of informative conversations, presentations, and networking opportunities with renowned composers and industry professionals, ComposersLab offers film composers & directos valuable insight into the process of creating music for film. Learn More

  • ShortsLabs are half- and day-long workshops designed to empower the next wave of emerging artists with first-hand insights into the basics of developing a script, making the film, and getting it seen by audiences.

    Our goal is to empower the next wave of emerging artists by giving you first-hand insight into the basics of developing your idea, to making their film, to getting it seen by audiences. Learn More

  • Our programs empower independent filmmakers to maintain control of marketing and distribution, and to connect with innovative creative strategies that can amplify each film’s reach and revenue potential. Learn More

Programs Code of Conduct

Sundance Institute programs, including our labs and workshops 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.