Creative Distribution Initiative

Creative Distribution Fellowship

The Fellowship - inspired by the Institute’s longstanding artist labs and entering its third year - is an immersive, rigorous program for entrepreneurial producers and directors seeking new ways to build and reach audiences with their finished work. We are now accepting applications for films preparing for a 2019 or early 2020 release who are open to a creative release - i.e. without a traditional distributor.

The Fellowship is a curated program that includes grant funds, access to premium pre-negotiated distribution deals, and connections to experienced industry mentors with the Institute’s Creative Distribution team playing a strategic advisory role. To date, we've supported five films in the two active years of the fellowship: Columbus, Unrest, The Devil We Know, 306 Hollywood and Thunder Road. Case studies from Year One are available here.

We are seeking films at all budget levels featuring distinctive, singular voices. We will select three or four films on a rolling basis, and we will support fellows during their initial release period (6 - 12 months). Films will be selected by a committee comprised of the Creative Distribution team along with key representatives from the Institute’s Feature Film, Documentary, and Festival programs. Our evaluation process will have two stages. We will initially review applications reviewing essay questions and a trailer or clip. After this initial review, we will invite select applicants to submit their feature in its entirety, and notify others that their project has been declined.

Learn More & Apply Here

Creative Funding

Through the Creative Distribution Initiative, Sundance Institute became the first curatorial partner of the creative funding platform Kickstarter. Since launching the deal in 2011, with promotional support from Kickstarter and dedicated strategic consultation from the Creative Distribution Initiative staff, over 400 filmmakers have successfully completed fundraising campaigns.

The Creative Distribution Initiative is happy to consult on and support crowdfunding campaigns from all platforms in addition to and including Kickstarter.

Contact the Creative Distribution Initiative


The Creative Distribution Initiative provides its filmmakers with efficient and effective promotional and marketing support. Through relationships with leading platforms such as Assemble, Instagram, Squarespace, Facebook, Twitter, GoWatchIt, and Blurb we provide best practices for alumni, and curate their work with Sundance Institute support.

Available CDI Titles

Support of the Creative Distribution Initiative

The Sundance Institute Creative Distribution Initiative is supported by Cinereach, Kickstarter, National Endowment for the Arts, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Arcus Foundation.

O’Melveny & Myers generously provided pro bono legal services for the program.

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Non-Profit Alliance

We are proud to work with a group of non-profit organizations who share our commitment to providing artists with more opportunities to share their work.