2022 Documentary Fund Fall Cycle
Welcome to the application for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.
This application is also used for consideration for the following funds:
Sundance Institute | Gucci Fund
Sundance Institute | Kendeda Fund
Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund
Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund
We appreciate your time and effort toward the application process, and we salute you on your independent filmmaking journey.
The deadline for the Documentary Fund is Monday, June 6, at 11:59pm Pacific time. Filmmakers who submit applications by then will hear back from us on our decisions in fall 2022.
In a changing media landscape, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has been a stable, progressive force in supporting work that has expressed the world in creative, complex, beautiful, and provocative ways, and it has created real cultural and social impact around some of the most pressing issues of our time. Recently supported films have included Always in Season; All That Breathes; Ascension; Collective; Crip Camp; Faya Dayi; Of Fathers and Sons; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Minding the Gap; The Mole Agent; Softie; and Writing With Fire.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP) prioritizes support for independent nonfiction films with budgets under $1,000,000 USD.
Creative and editorial control must be held by members of the films’ key creative teams.
For United States productions, the DFP prioritizes films led by artists from historically underrepresented communities. Projects that focus on historically underrepresented communities must have a key creative from the community or with deep ties to the community in a power-holding position represented on the team.
For international productions, we prioritize films led by artists from Africa, China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. Indigenous artists globally and artists from the above regions who are living in the diaspora are also prioritized.
Applicants 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 to apply. 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.
Projects that have previously received a grant through the Documentary Fund are not eligible to apply for additional funding through this open call. Contact DFP staff for more information.
WHAT WILL I NEED IN ORDER TO APPLY?
Completed previous directing sample, any length or genre — optional
Current sample — 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 several criteria, including artful film language, engaging storytelling, originality, feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, journalistic rigor (where applicable), and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience. The Documentary Fund prioritizes funding films from early career and emerging artists. To that end, film teams’ experience level and access to resources, both financial and creative, is taken into consideration. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed.
Award decisions typically take five to six months. Please do not contact us to inquire about your status, as we cannot provide status updates. You will be notified directly via 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 "2022 Documentary Fund: Fall Grant Cycle."
The Sundance Documentary Film Program is committed to providing application assistance to applicants who require support with the application process. Directors or the key creative on a project who self-identify as artists who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a disability, or are living with a mental illness may request assistance at any stage of the application process. Support includes a limited amount of funding for the artist to hire someone for ASL interpretation and translation, or transcription and editing purposes, as well as to gather materials required to submit a grant application. This is not meant to be used to hire a grant writer, but rather to support an artist with a disability to submit their own grant application. To request assistance and for additional information please email email@example.com.