Sundance Institute has defined diversity as one of the core values driving the Institute’s work. The Diversity Initiative at Sundance encompasses our efforts in all programs of the organization to reach into new communities of storytellers and audiences across regions, genres, ethnicities, gender and orientation.
Our goals include deepening and expanding our connections to diverse communities, cultures, languages, and regions across the United States. In doing this we hope to increase the diversity of projects submitted for consideration to all Institute programs, and inspire new artists to tell their stories.
For a closer look at our own baseline statistics in the area of racial and ethnic diversity, we opened up our own records to Dr. Stacy L. Smith and her accomplished team at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California. , Their report Race & Ethnicity in Independent Films: Prevalence of Underrepresented Directors and the Barriers They Face was completed in Spring, 2014.The report assesses the prevalence and experiences of statistically underrepresented directors in film. Dr. Smith examined the ethnicity and race of all directors (more than 1,000) of U.S. dramatic and documentary films screened at the Sundance Film Festival from 2002–2013. Researchers also identified relationships between diversity behind and in front of the camera for 118 Festival films from the past four years and compared this data with that of the 500 top-grossing films released theatrically between 2007–2012. Finally, 20 filmmakers from typically underrepresented groups were interviewed about the barriers they face in their industry.
(Sundance Institute, in collaboration with Women In Film Los Angeles, also published two research reports from Dr. Smith at her team exploring barriers and opportunities for women filmmakers starting from Sundance data. This research shaped the goals of the Women Filmmakers Initiative, which can be found here.
Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)
Latino Public Broadcasting
Muslim Public Affairs Council MPAC's Hollywood Bureau
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
National Association of Latino Independent Producers
Pacific Islanders in Communications
Tribeca Film Institute
Time Warner Foundation seeks innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture, and celebrate the next generation of storytellers. The Foundation is a founding supporter of Sundance Institute’s Diversity Initiative. Since 2011, the Time Warner Fellowship Program has supported diverse Fellows in the Institute’s Documentary Film Program, Feature Film Program, Film Music Program, Native American and Indigenous Program, Theatre Program and, beginning in 2014, the New Frontier Initiative. Fellows selected from each Program’s pool of artists on the basis of diversity, the distinctiveness of voice, and the particular timeliness of each story. Each Fellow receives a strategic combination of one or more of the following types of support: direct granting; attendance at Sundance Institute Labs; ongoing creative support from Sundance Institute staff and Creative Advisors; and attendance at the Sundance Film Festival. Time Warner Fellows include Ryan Coogler, Chanda Dancy, Sydney Freeland, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Qui Nguyen, and Chloé Zhao. Join our email list to learn when to apply for a fellowship.
In 2013, John S. and James L." Knight Foundation collaborated with Sundance Institute to pilot artist development programming in two key U.S. cities. Philadelphia hosted a Screenwriters Intensive in October 2013 and a ShortsLab in March 2014. Miami was home to a New Frontier Flash Lab and a ShortsLab, both in March 2014. Knight Fellows chosen from Philadelphia and Miami attended the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Knight Fellows were Jos Duncan, Monica Peña, Heidi Saman, and Julian Yuri Rodriguez.
This fall, the Knight Fellows Project will expand to include more programming in more communities over the next three years, including Akron, Charlotte, Detroit, Macon, Miami, San Jose, and St. Paul. By expanding our Programmatic reach geographically, we hope to expand our pipeline and encourage diverse artists from locations across the U.S. to become a part of the Sundance community. Join our email list to find out how to attend each of these events.
The Sundance Institute Diversity Initiative is made possible by founding support from Time Warner Foundation. Generous additional support is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, Arcus Foundation, Ford Foundation, Google, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, SAGindie, Comcast-NBCUniversal, and Philip Fung-A3 Foundation.
The Knight Fellows Project is made possible by generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.