New Frontier




In light of the financial impact of the pandemic, Sundance Institute opted to scale back some programs and find new ways to support artists who are at the heart of our nonprofit mission. Regretfully, we are pausing the New Frontier Lab programs for the next year, and we do not plan to host a 2022 Story Lab.

We have always celebrated exploring the unknown, and we’re looking forward to serving you—our artists, advisors/mentors, fellows, alumni, and community—as part of the newly-formed Sundance Interdisciplinary Program (along with also-paused Film Music and Theatre programs). A huge thank you for being a part of this community!

About New Frontier Lab Programs

A bold spirit of innovation has emerged among artists as they seek to engage audiences with narrative worlds that leverage new technologies, visual aesthetics, social media cultures, immersive designs, game theory, transmedia activism, and shifts in the boundaries of authorship. In the last decade, the media landscape has transformed, and storytellers are both exploring as well as constructing this new terrain, pioneering new connections with audiences and restructuring story design.

The labs and residency programs at New Frontier work to identify and foster independent artists and creative technologists innovating the art and form of story at the convergence of diverse forms of creative expression, and to build a community of collaborators across diverse disciplines to push the boundaries of story.

New Frontier Story Lab​

With an emphasis on story, this lab supports artists who are developing interactive, immersive, or experimental projects that aim to create rich and resonant experiences for audiences. The New Frontier Story Lab is open to a wide variety of storytelling disciplines, forms, and story designs.

New Frontier Artist Residency Program

The Artist Residency Program is designed to match New Frontier alumni with sponsor organizations that are also working to pioneer the field by creating tools, providing platforms, congregating communities or audiences, sharing the learning, developing content and experiences, cultivating talent, or utilizing storytelling methodology in their delivery of products and services.

Public Sessions and Artist Intensives

The New Frontier public sessions and artist intensives are designed to share this learning gained through the New Frontier programs with creative communities, to inspire participants to expand their creative practices or innovate within their organizations, and to further their contribution to the evolution of story.

Still Have Questions?

Continuum of Support

Fellows who complete a lab at Sundance Institute become part of a community of storytellers who support independent artists in furthering their craft and bringing great projects into the world. In an increasingly complex emerging media landscape, we recognize the need for sustained support for artists through every phase of the making process. In keeping with the Institute’s commitment to provide long-term assistance to our alumni following participation in a lab program, New Frontier Lab programs provide access to a customized suite of support designed to help artists realize the promise of their project and to offer strategies and resources to help the project reach its audience.

In addition to ongoing creative and strategic support, fellows receive customized, year-round support with a focus on story development, design, and technical innovation. This includes ongoing creative and strategic advice from Sundance Institute staff and advisors; targeted introductions to creative technologists, writers, production companies, funders, distributors, and executives; inclusion in the Sundance Institute alumni community; invitations to Sundance Institute–hosted events throughout the year; and ongoing mentorship with emerging media artists and professionals. If appropriate, projects supported through the lab will be considered by New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival as a way to platform the new work and provide a direct audience component for expanding the boundaries of immersive experience.

New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival

Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival has provided the highest level of curation in the emerging field, incorporating fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid projects to showcase emerging media storytelling, multimedia installations, performances, and films. For Festival submissions click here; for the New Frontier Festival program click here, and for Festival venue and attendance information, click here.

Support for New Frontier

The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn, Lyn and Norman Lear, Time Warner Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Turner, 21st Century Fox, Comcast Ventures, Unity Technologies, Dell, The Fledgling Fund, ThoughtWorks, Vimeo, and swissnex San Francisco.

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