The Luminate Group works to ensure that everyone – especially those who are underrepresented – has the information, rights, and power to participate in civic and political life, to help those who challenge power to do so safely and effectively, and to improve the integrity of information and public debate.  

The Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund is no longer accepting applications.

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

  • Up to $25,000 for development
  • Up to $50,000 for production and post-production

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

Supported projects addressed Luminate’s priority topics in any of the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Supported Projects


Director: Pedro de Filippis
Producers: Leonardo Mecchi, Bronte Stahl, Tarsila Nakmura
After the largest mining dam breaks in history, further dam collapses threaten millions in Brazil. A state counselor confronts the modus operandi of the government, while dam refugees resist the abuses of the mining companies in their threatened communities.

Stronger Together
Director: Tania Claudia Castillo
Producers: Gabriela Gavica, Carlos Hernández
A documentary that depicts the rise of the Mexican feminist movement to legalize abortion and combat the growing wave of violence against women.

Directors: Meena Nanji, Zippy Kimundu
Producers: Meena Nanji, Zippy Kimundu, Eliane Ferreira
A Kenyan woman’s search for her father’s remains becomes an investigation into British colonial atrocities including concentration camps and land theft that left hundreds of thousands of Kenyans destitute. As her mission expands, she transforms into a powerful advocate championing justice and land resettlement for those dispossessed.

Untitled Kenyan Politics Project
Directors: Christopher King, Maia Lekow
Producers: Maia Lekow, Christopher King
At a moment of historical transformation for Kenya’s ancient Lamu archipelago, the race for Governor has become a battle of extremely high-stakes. Amidst waves of violent terror attacks, billion dollar infrastructure projects, ethnic tensions and an open hostility towards female leadership, the winner will set this sleepy historical fishing village onto a trajectory that could make or break the community forever.


Black Mothers
Director: Débora Souza Silva
Producers: Débora Souza Silva, David Felix Sutcliffe
Violence. Outrage. Impunity. Repeat. Black Mothers follows the journey of two women battling to break America’s cycle of racist police violence. As one mother investigates the cover-up of her son’s attack by law enforcement, the other channels her grief into organizing mothers across the country as they fight for justice.

Director: Juan Mejia
Producer: Juan Yepes
Igualada is a film about one determined and courageous woman, but also the story of a once-in-a-lifetime presidential campaign where Francia Márquez’s uncompromising appeal for justice inspires a movement in a country allowing itself to dream.

Inverse Surveillance Project
Director: Assia Boundaoui
Producer: Nouha Boundaoui
The Inverse Surveillance Project is a hybrid documentary project, co-created with our Muslim-American community in Chicago, which repurposes thousands of records collected during a decade of FBI surveillance as raw material for creating a counter-archive and makes space for a surveilled community to build power, seek truth and heal.


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.

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.

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.