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Sundance/Sloan Grant Application FAQ

How do I apply?
Once a year, Sundance Institute accepts open applications for the Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship. Applications are available online each year from early June and are due in early September.

What do I need to apply?

  • Logline
  • Synopsis
  • Brief description of the thematic core and scientific ideas being explored
  • Artistic Statement – Screenwriter’s creative intent for the script, which can include the genesis of the story, particular themes of interest, and why this story is of interest for the writer to tell
  • Additional Information (optional) – Any additional information such as status of the project, attachments, or prior science research done to date
  • Bios for the screenwriter(s), director(s), and producer(s) (if applicable)
  • A letter of recommendation
  • Application fee of $40 (credit card only).

What's the difference between the Commissioning Grant and the Fellowship?
The Commissioning Grant focuses on projects in earlier stages of development – from full treatment form to early screenplay drafts. If your script is in a later stage of development, we can consider it for a Screenwriters Lab Fellowship. There is no separate submission required; all projects submitted through this application process are evaluated for either the Grant or Fellowship.

How many scripts can I apply with?
You may submit up to three projects, but we encourage you to choose one project that is your priority in terms of moving forward. Please note that for each script, you must complete a separate application and submit a separate application fee.

Who should I have write my letter of recommendation?
Ideally, your recommender should be working in the film industry (eg. producer, director, executive, film professor) and be familiar with your past work. They do not need to be familiar with the project you are submitting. If you do not have prior film work or relationships, your recommender should be able to address your past creative endeavors.

Who should my letter of recommendation be addressed to?
Please have letter addressed to “To Whom It May Concern” and mailed to:

Sundance Institute
Attn: Rebecca Windsor
5900 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 800
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Do I need to have a science advisor already on board my project?
No science advisor is required in order to apply for this grant. However, you are encouraged to include information about any that you may be collaborating with or would like to collaborate with in the “Other Information” section of the application.

Why can't I submit a science fiction project?
The goal of this particular grant is to focus on stories grounded in current (or past) science and technology.  Although we understand some cutting edge science can be construed as science fiction, please use your best judgment in deciding whether or not to apply. For example, stories taking place in the future or involving science that is clearly not yet achievable would be considered science fiction. 

Can I reapply with the same project as last year?
Yes, although we encourage you to re-apply with the same project only if you have made significant revisions.

Can only Americans apply?
No, but all submitted projects must be intended to be filmed in English and submitted to us in English.

How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I'm not accepted?
All applicants will be notified via email. You will hear from us whether accepted or not. 

I haven't received my notification yet, but all my friends have! What's wrong?
We deliver our notifications on a rolling basis, so please don't panic. You will hear whether you have proceeded to the second round of the application process by October 18, 2013, at the latest. Final Grant notifications will be made by January 3, 2014.

Can I deliver my application in person?
Yes, if you live in Los Angeles, you can hand deliver your application materials to our office. Please leave your application with Security in the Main Lobby of the building. Someone will be able to accept it 24 hours a day.

Can I submit a script/treatment based on a novel or other original material?
Yes, we will consider scripts based on prior work, but you must provide proof of rights to the material.

Do you accept scripts that have been submitted elsewhere?
Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been through other writers workshops or programs.

Still don’t see you question answered here? Email us at sloangrants@sundance.org.