SUNDANCE INSTITUTE | LUMINATE FUND

About the Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund

The Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund provides non-recoupable grants to independent artists working across documentary, narrative, episodic, and emerging media projects that address the following four areas in which Luminate strives to have impact:

Civic Empowerment
Data & Digital Rights
Independent Media
Financial Transparency

The fund offers support to projects at all stages of development, production, and post-production, including early distribution and impact campaigns. This fund supports up to six projects per year with the following average grant amounts:

  • $15,000 for development
  • up to $40,000 for production and post-production

Selection criteria for this fund prioritize the potential for social and cultural impact.

Eligibility

Filmmakers are eligible to apply to the fund if they are working on projects addressing any of the above four impact areas in any of Luminate’s priority countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe. We especially encourage applications from Latin America.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted via two open calls per year, with decisions being made in the summer and winter. Application for the Winter 2020 cycle is now closed. We will be accepting applications for the Summer 2021 cycle starting late Fall 2020. Please check back for updates.

Supported Projects

2019

A Cop Movie
Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios
Producers: Elena Fortes, Daniela Alatorre
Two professional actors undergo an immersive process to interpret police officers Teresa and Montoya and experience what it takes to be a cop in Mexico. A radical experiment combining documentary and fictional elements, the film gives voice to one of Mexico’s most controversial institutions: the police force, and unravels the causes of the impunity crisis that plagues the justice system.

And She Could Be Next
Directors: Grace Lee, Marjan Safinia
Producers: Grace Lee, Marjan Safinia, Jyoti Sarda
In a polarized America, where the dual forces of white supremacy and patriarchy threaten to erode our democracy, a game-changing transformation is happening at the grassroots. As American demographics rapidly shift toward a non-white majority, a defiant group of women of color—as candidates and organizers— are harnessing the political power of the New American Majority. And She Could Be Next, made by a team of women filmmakers of color, asks whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized.

Influence
Directors: Diana Neille, Richard Poplak
Producers: Bob Moore, Neil Brandt
Influence charts the recent advancements in weaponized communication by investigating the rise and fall of the world's most notorious public relations and reputation management firm: the British multinational Bell Pottinger.

La Vocera
Director: Luciana Kaplan
Producers: Carolina Coppel, Monica Lozano, Eamon O´Farrill
Maria de Jesús Patricio, the first indigenous woman aspiring for the presidency, questions the Mexican electoral system.

Softie
Director: Sam Soko
Producers: Toni Kamau, Sam Soko
As Kenya’s most notorious activist enters mainstream politics to challenge social injustice, he faces questions on the cost of his sacrifices, past and present, from his family and himself.

The Fourth Man
Director: Alberto Arnaut
Producers: Diego Enrique Osorno, Juan Alfonso Farre
A group of lawyers and activists investigate the possible motives of a multiple homicide in a landmark neighborhood in Mexico City, revealing the deepest frameworks of the politics of corruption and impunity in Mexico.

The Forgotten Margins
Director: Mark Grieco
Producers: Adriana Agudelo Moreno, Stuart Reid
One of Latin America’s most important photojournalists heads out to Colombia’s isolated and volatile countryside, where he risks it all to reveal the fallout from the country’s historic peace accord.

The Infiltrators
Directors: Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera
Producers: Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera
The Infiltrators is a docu-thriller that tells the real—and surreal—story of a group of immigrants in America who got themselves apprehended by Border Patrol to face detention and deportation on purpose.

About Luminate

Luminate is a global philanthropic organization focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies. We support innovative and courageous organizations and entrepreneurs around the world, and we advocate for the policies and actions that will drive change across four impact areas: Civic Empowerment, Data & Digital Rights, Financial Transparency, and Independent Media. We work with our investees and partners to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and to shape the issues affecting their societies, and to make those in positions of power more responsive and accountable. Luminate was established in 2018 by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam. The organization is part of The Omidyar Group.

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