Sandbox Fund

The Sandbox Fund offers grants, engagement events, and other opportunities for independent artists seeking to explore the intrinsic link between science and culture through innovative storytelling. The program is administered by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, in collaboration with Sandbox Films.

Grants are offered to independent artists who are working at the intersection of science and nonfiction storytelling. The partnership identifies and supports nonfiction projects that inspire a deeper interest in science, especially among those who don’t think of themselves as science enthusiasts.

Eligibility & How to Apply

U.S. and international nonfiction projects are eligible, with a focus on feature-length documentary projects.

All applications must be submitted through the Sandbox Fund application portal.

The Fund grants three times a year, with three application windows – it is closed for about two weeks between each window. Grant-making decisions occur generally spring, summer, and fall, in collaboration with Sandbox Films.

There are three windows in which you can apply to the grant in 2021:
Spring Cycle: December 8, 2020 – March 8, 2021
Summer Cycle: April 12, 2021 – June 14, 2021
Fall Cycle: July 15, 2021 – October 4, 2021 (open now)

Applicants will be notified within 2-5 months of the deadline.

The project offers support to projects at all stages of development, production, post-production, and impact campaigns. Average grant sizes are as follows:

  • Development (up to $25,000)
  • Production (up to $50,000)
  • Post-Production (up to $50,000)


Creative Considerations
Selection criteria for the Sandbox Fund will emphasize creative narrative techniques and projects that highlight diversity in science, specifically those that feature characters, topics, or disciplines that broaden and redefine what it means to be a scientist or to do science.

Supported Projects

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2019 More >
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About Sandbox Films

Sandbox Films is a documentary studio that illuminates the art and beauty of scientific inquiry. Mission-driven. Artist-friendly. Non-profit. We collaborate with production partners and visionary filmmakers around the world, providing co-production and financing opportunities for feature-length documentary projects at every stage of production. We’re a collective that brings together clashing viewpoints, industries and personalities. We celebrate both the precision and peculiarities of the process. Because science should be embraced for what it really is: humankind’s weird, messy, brilliant way of navigating the world. More info at: