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Feature Film Program Fund

Feature Film Program Fellows are eligible for fellowships and direct artist granting designed to give Lab-supported projects momentum at critical junctures in their development, pre-production, post-production and distribution/marketing stages.  These grants and fellowships are funded through a group of partnerships with very generous foundations, film industry companies and individuals committed to the work of sustaining artists and advancing their work along their entire journey to connect with audiences. The Feature Film Program staff team works together with our partners to make these strategic decisions considering impact, timing, urgency and quality of work as key criteria.  Over the past three years, the Feature Film Program has supported over 80 projects at different stages with direct artist grants totaling one million dollars.

Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship

With a generous contribution from Cinereach, the Feature Film Program offers the Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship to Lab and Festival fellows whose projects push the boundaries of conventional storytelling and are singular in their vision and content. The latest group of Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellows include Andrew Renzi (Franny), Russ Harbaugh (Love After Love), K’Naan (Maanokoobiyo), Ian Hendrie & Jyson McLean (Mercy Road), Meredith Danluck (State Like Sleep), Miguel Calderon (Zeus), Alexandre Moors (Blue Caprice), Stacie Passon (Concussion), Natalia Almada (Everything Else is a Shade of Grey), Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love), Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), Hannah Fidell (A Teacher), Chad Hartigan (This is Martin Bonner), Sarah Carbiener & Erica Rosbe (Vaclav the Magnificent and His Lovely Assistant Lena), and Robert Eggers (The Witch), Alvaro Aponte-Centeno (Noli), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Talya Lavie (Zero Motivation) and Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio (Story Box of Dreams).

Please note that the Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship is available only to filmmakers already being supported by the Feature Film Program or the Sundance Film Festival. For information on grants given directly by Cinereach, please visit their website: www.cinereach.org.

Sundance Institute Indian Paintbrush Fellowship

With generous support from film development/production/financing company Indian Paintbrush, the Sundance Institute Indian Paintbrush Fellowship offers grants to filmmakers selected for the Feature Film Program's Directors, Screenwriters, or Producers Labs. Five or more filmmakers each year receive a grant to support the development, pre-production, post-production, distribution and/or marketing of their work. Indian Paintbrush fellows are distinguished by their independent vision, originality, and authentic voice; the grants are designed to provide momentum and sustainability at crucial moments in the lives of their projects. In addition, Indian Paintbrush underwrites a Producer's Award with accompanying $10,000 grant to a producer whose film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. The first Producer’s Award was given to Dan Janvey and Josh Penn for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The 2013 Producer’s Award was given to Toby Holbrooks and James Johnston for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Our most recent Indian Paintbrush Fellows are: Mishna Wolf (I’m Down), Susanna Fogel & Joni Lefkowitz (Life Partners), Mark Rosenberg (Ad Inexplorata), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Jan Kwiecinski (The Incident), Ariel Kleiman (Partisan), Eric Flanagan (White Faced Lies), and Pamela Romanowsky (The Adderall Diaries).

Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship

Alfred P. Sloan

To support the development of screenplays with science or technology themes, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide opportunities for both emerging and established filmmakers through granting and fellowships. Established in 2005, the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant is an annual cash award for a science- or technology-related project that is at an early stage, such as full treatment or early screenplay draft. Additionally, one Fellowship is awarded annually to an emerging screenwriter to support the ongoing development of a narrative, feature-length screenplay with science or technology themes. Click here to learn more about the films that have participated in the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship over the last ten years, click here to learn about applying, or click here to apply.

Time Warner Fellowship Program

The Time Warner Fellowship Program was established as a way for Time Warner to support emerging and diverse artists selected from Feature Film Screenwriters and Directors Lab fellows. The grant provides up to $6,000 to support artists whose work uniquely positions and advances the concept of storytelling. The Time Warner Fellows are chosen for the uniqueness and diversity of the project's voice and narrative, and the timeliness of the story and its perspective. These artists will be developing projects that highlight the role of storytelling in specific aspects of the creative process, show its importance in personal vision and perspective, and present it as a central component in embracing the diversity of our common experience. Past Time Warner Fellows include Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale),Dee Rees (Pariah), Andrew MacLean (On the Ice), Elgin James (Little Birds), and Cherien Dabis (May In The Summer). The most recent fellow is Chinaka Hodge with her project 700th & International.

Sundance Institute/A3 Foundation Feature Film Fellowship

The Feature Film Program’s collaboration with the A3 Foundation aims to further the presence of the Asian American voice in independent film as an extension of Sundance Institute’s ongoing commitment to support a diverse group of emerging artists. The recipient of the fellowship will participate in the Screenwriters or Directors Labs. For additional information regarding this Fellowship and applying to the Screenwriters Lab, please click here for more information.

The Sundance / RT Feature Fellowship

The Sundance / RT Features Fellowship is presented to a Directors Lab Fellow in recognition of their unique voice and vision.  Following the Labs, the Fellowship enables the director to focus on moving their feature project forward with tailored support from Sundance staff and advisors on both creative and strategic fronts.  RT Features is an internationally recognized feature film production company based in Brazil which supports the development, production and financing of both Brazilian and international work. Ariel Kleiman, with his script Partisan was selected as the inaugural RT Features Fellow.

Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award

Mahindra

In addition to the Lab, Sundance and Mahindra have partnered to create the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, which recognizes and supports emerging independent filmmakers from four different regions annually. Winning filmmakers each receive a cash award of $10,000 and attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for a specially curated five-day program, which includes targeted creative and industry meetings, screenings and panels.

2013 Recipients of the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award

  • Jonas Carpignano (Italy-US) / A Chjana
  • Sarthak Dasgupta (India) / The Music Teacher
  • Aly Muritiba (Brazil) / The Man Who Killed My Beloved Dead
  • Vendela Vida & Eva Weber (US – Germany – UK) / Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name

Following the festival, Feature Film Program staff and creative advisors provide ongoing creative and strategic support, which may also include the opportunity to participate in one of the Sundance Institute Creative Labs in Screenwriting, Directing, Composing, and Producing.

Past award-winners include Bogdan Mustata’s Wolf (Romania), Talya Lavie’s Zero Motivation (Israel), Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan (Australia), and Dominga Sotomayor’s Late To Die Young (Chile).

Press Release - 2013 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards

Sundance/NHK Award

In 1996, the Sundance/NHK Award was established by Sundance Institute in partnership with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) to celebrate 100 years of cinema and to honor and support emerging independent filmmakers whose originality, talent, and vision contributes significantly to the future of world cinema.

One international filmmaker is selected each year and recognized with an announcement at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for creative and strategic meetings at the Festival with established filmmakers, and guidance by FFP staff throughout the life of the project.

The 2013 Recipients of the Sundance/NHK Award are Kentaro Hagiwara & Kyohta Fujimoto from Japan with their project, Spectacled Tiger. This year, 2010 winner Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis). Other films which have been supported by the Sundance/NHK Award include: Cherien Dabis’s May in the Summer (Palestine), Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Elena (Russia), Cruz Angeles' Don't Let Me Drown (U.S.),  Gyorgi Palfi's Taxidermia (Hungary), Rodrigo Moreno's El Custodio (Argentina), Andrucha Waddington’s House of Sand (Brazil), Lucrecia Martel's La Ciénaga (Argentina), Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's Whisky (Uruguay), and Walter Salles' Central Station (Brazil). Made early in these directors' careers, each of these films were instrumental in launching the work of emerging filmmakers in their respective countries.

Press Release - Kentaro Hagiwara Wins 2013 Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award

Maryland Film Fellowship

Presented in partnership with the Maryland Film Office, the Maryland Film Fellowship provides a Directors Lab Fellow with a $10,000 bridge grant as a means to move his or her project forward during the crucial phases of advanced development and preproduction. The 2013 Maryland Film Fellows are Jody Lee Lipes (Confederacy) and Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl). Past Maryland Film Fellows include Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her) and Tanya Hamilton, whose film Night Catches Us premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant

The Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant was established to support the advancement of talented women filmmakers as they focus on the next crucial steps of their filmmaking process. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation provides a $5,000 grant to be awarded annually by the Sundance Institute to a filmmaker coming out of the Feature Film Program's June Directors Lab. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the memory of the late writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly.

The first recipient, Maryam Keshavarz, participated in both the 2007 January Screenwriting Lab and the 2007 June Directing and Screenwriting Labs with her project Circumstance, which was released in 2011. Chloe Zhao (Lee) is the recipient of the 2013 Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant. Dee Rees (Pariah) was also an Adrienne Shelly fellow.

Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award

The Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award is presented to a Feature Film Directors Lab Fellow in recognition of the filmmaker's unique voice and talent. The Award provides a $15,000 grant to the filmmaker to help provide momentum and support in moving their feature film project forward. Past award recipients include Fellipe Barbosa (Casa Grande), Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance), Ry Russo Young and Lena Dunham (Nobody Walks), Carson Mell (Ajax), and Carlo Mirabella Davis (On Evil). The most recent fellows include Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams) and Jyson McLean & Ian Hendrie (Mercy Road).

Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship

As Associate Director of the Institute's Feature Film Program, Lynn Auerbach made a profound difference in the lives of the many screenwriters and filmmakers who came to know her. To honor her memory, this Fellowship provides concentrated support to one screenwriter being supported by the Feature Film Program. The Auerbach Fellow receives a cash stipend, dedicated yearlong mentorship from two Screenwriting Advisors, and a produced reading of her or his screenplay. The 2013 Lynn Auerbach fellow is Ray Tintori (Cabal). Past Lynn Auerbach fellows include Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Ismet Prcic and Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams) James Ponsoldt (Refresh, Refresh) Jonathan Wysocki (All Fall Down) Keith Davis (The American People) Jake Mahaffy (Free in Deed) Myna Joseph (My Favorite Nightmare), and Victoria Mahoney (Yelling to the Sky).

The Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship

In memory of Sally Menke's artistry and love of mentoring, Sundance Institute created the Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship, to support an emerging narrative editor in furthering their craft, expanding their artistic community and providing momentum to their editing career.

Selected annually, the Sally Menke Editing Fellow will work as an Editor at the Sundance Institute June Directors Lab, focusing on editing the workshop scenes of two directors selected for the Lab. The Fellow will also have the year-round opportunity to work with two established editors as mentors.

The Sally Menke Editing Fellowship is designed to support an emerging narrative editor who has edited at least one narrative film (no more than four), and any number of shorts, documentary films, industrial films, or webisodes. Additionally, the ideal candidate is committed to continuing a career in editing, passionate about the creative process and is open to exploration and experimentation in the editing room. Past recipients of the Editing Fellowship include Julia Block in 2011, Debbie Berman in 2012, and Joe Krings in 2013.

The 2013 deadline for Sally Menke Fellowship applications has passed.  Sally Menke Fellowship applications are considered by invitation or recommendation only and the selection process for 2014 applicants will begin next February. For more information, please contact Cristen Aery at cristen_aery@sundance.org.