Feature Film Program Summary
The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program (FFP) is dedicated to developing and nurturing the next generation of leading edge narrative feature filmmakers through its unique system of creative residencies, resources, and advisory support. For the past 30 years, the Program has championed many of the world’s groundbreaking independent filmmakers by encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply personal storytelling. By providing tailored year-round support to pioneering filmmakers, the FFP has become a model for supporting artists around the world. Recent award-winning projects cultivated in the Program include Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station (2013 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award), Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize), Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka, and Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Elena. Click here for a closer look at the FFP’s role in supporting Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute was created in response to the shared conviction that the budding independent film movement had the potential for far-reaching creative impact if given adequate resources and a place to foster self-expression and a sense of community among filmmakers. Thirty years later, under Michelle Satter’s continued leadership, the FFP’s network of Labs continues to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for filmmakers to incubate their most audacious ideas in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and failure is regarded as a valuable step in a project’s creative evolution.
The point of entry to the Feature Film Program is the January Screenwriters Lab, a five-day writer’s workshop for 12 filmmakers held at the Sundance Resort. (Read about recent Lab Fellow Ryan Koo's experience here). During the Lab, fellows take part in intensive one-on-one story meetings focused on their feature film scripts under the guidance of accomplished writers in a place that encourages creativity and innovation. The deadline for open submissions to the 2014 January Lab is May 1.
Once a filmmaker has participated in the January Screenwriters Lab, the Feature Film Program provides a wide range of support designed to help filmmakers realize the promise of their project and to offer strategies and resources to help the project reach its audience. The Project Support Continuum can include the June Directors Lab, the annual Composers Lab, ongoing screenplay development, targeted momentum grants, public screenplay readings, strategic introductions to potential funders and collaborators, in-kind donations, and works in progress screenings. The FFP’s newest initiatives, a direct response to the evolving landscape of independent film, include the Creative Producing Fellowship and Summit and the New Frontier Story Lab. Click here to browse recent photos from the 2012 Director's Lab on our Instagram page. Also,
The Institute’s guiding values of cultural exchange and freedom of expression have broadened the program to include American and international artists in a more meaningful and vibrant dialogue across political and geographic boundaries. Reflecting an increasingly global independent filmmaking community, the Feature Film Program (in collaboration with regional partners) has launched several signature programs to support international filmmakers, including the RAWI Middle East Screenwriters Lab held annually in Jordan and the Mumbai Mantra/Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India. Additionally, this year marks the second year of the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, presented annually to four emerging international filmmakers, and the 14th year of the Sundance Institute/NHK Award.
Many accomplished artists have contributed as Creative Advisors to the work supported by the Program, including: Gyula Gazdag, Alexander Payne, Ed Harris, Paul Thomas Anderson, Nicole Holofcener, Denzel Washington, Walter Salles, Scott Frank, Walter Mosley, Stanley Tucci, Alfonso Cuaron, Alfre Woodard, Atom Egoyan, Guillermo Arriaga, Thomas Vinterberg, Catherine Hardwicke, Walter Murch, and Robert Elswit. Click here for a full list of past Creative Advisors.
Posted Mar 12, 2013 in Press Releases
Eight Feature Film Projects Selected for Second Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab
Mumbai, India — Mumbai Mantra, the media and entertainment division of the Mahindra Group, in collaboration with Sundance Institute, has selected eight Indian Screenwriters...
Posted Feb 22, 2013, by Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator in Articles
Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild does much more than simply defy categorization. Rather, it creates its own world—or as Senior Programmer John Nein puts it, “Beasts...
Posted Feb 20, 2013, by Andrew Ahn, Filmmaker in Articles
Andrew Ahn is a Los Angeles-based Korean-American filmmaker whose short film Dol (First Birthday) screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Below he shares his experience...
Posted Jan 26, 2013 in Press Releases
Park City, UT — Sundance Institute this evening announced the Jury, Audience, NEXT <=> and other special awards of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the feature film Awards...
Posted Jan 26, 2013, by Eric Hynes, Jeremy Kinser, and Nate von Zumwalt to the Blog
Posted Jan 26, 2013 in Press Releases
Park City, UT — Sundance Institute and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have announced Kentaro Hagiwara, director of the upcoming film, Spectacled Tiger, as winner of the...
Posted Jan 22, 2013 in Press Releases
PARK CITY, UT, U.S.A. — Sundance Institute and India’s Mahindra Group today announced the four winners of the 2013 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards, in...
Posted Dec 17, 2012 in Press Releases
Sundance Institute Announces 12 Projects Selected for the Feature Film Program 2013 January Screenwriters Lab
Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for its 2013 January Screenwriters Lab, an immersive, five-day (January 11-16) writers’ workshop at the Sundance...