2020 Documentary Fund: Fall Grant Cycle
Welcome to the application for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.
This application is also used for consideration for the following funds:
We appreciate your time and effort toward the application process, and salute you on your independent filmmaking journey. Submissions are accepted year-round, and we indicate three deadlines per year that correspond to our three grant cycles.
The next deadline is Monday, June 15, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Filmmakers who submit applications by then will hear back from us on our decisions by the end of November.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program's mandate is to focus on the values of art, reach, and change. We accomplish these by encouraging experimentation and excellence in form, championing under-represented voices, and supporting the social and creative impact of this work upon release. Recently supported films include Always in Season; American Factory; The Edge of Democracy; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Minding the Gap; Of Fathers and Sons; and One Child Nation. Please note that we do not fund NGO, advocacy, or educational films. We also tend not to fund purely historical or biographical films unless they show clear contemporary relevance, or innovation in form.
You may submit at any production phase from development through post-production. All proposals must convey some vision for a finished film. Projects that have not yet secured characters or subjects, are unable to articulate a story or structure, or are unable to explain the project's driving central question are discouraged. We are unable to consider proposals for story research. You do not need any prior funding or a fiscal sponsor in order to apply.
Once your film premieres, we are unable to provide post-production funding support. We therefore encourage applicants to apply at least six months before an anticipated premiere. Picture-locked cuts are also ineligible for post-production funding.
WHAT WILL I NEED IN ORDER TO APPLY?
- Written proposal
- Visual samples
- Completed previous directing sample (any length or genre)—optional
- Current sample/rough cut (required for production and post-production applications)
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?
Applications go through a multi-stage review, with selected submissions sent for Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Committee consideration. The Committee meets to make recommendations regarding which projects are funded. Proposals to the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund are evaluated on artful, innovative film language, clear storytelling, originality, feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience. Incomplete applications will be reviewed as received.
Award decisions typically take three to six months. Please do not contact us to inquire about your status, as we can not provide status updates. You will be notified by us directly by email once a decision has been made. We periodically announce new grantees throughout the year, and those press releases are not notifications.
You may send any significant updates to email@example.com. However, due to the volume of projects that we receive, the Documentary Film Program does not guarantee that updates will be incorporated into the project’s review.
WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS?
If you have additional questions about the Documentary Fund application procedures, please see the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund FAQ. For technical issues related to SurveyMonkey Apply, please contact FRsupport@sundance.org.
HOW DO I START MY APPLICATION?
- Go to the online application portal and sign up for an account, or log in with an existing one.
- Log in and select the "2020 Documentary Fund: Fall Grant Cycle."
- Click "Apply."
- Get started!