Documentary Film Program | Sundance Documentary Fund
Welcome to the application for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.
This application is also used for consideration for the following funds:
A&E Brave Storytellers Award
Science Sandbox Nonfiction Project
We appreciate your time and effort toward the application process, and salute you on your independent filmmaking journey.
The Documentary Film Program's (DFP) 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: we do not fund NGO, or educational films. We also tend not to fund purely historical or biographical films unless they show clear contemporary relevance, or innovation in form.
Submissions to the Documentary Fund are accepted year round, with decisions occurring 4 times per year. We publicly communicate submit-by dates for each round on our website and through our social media channels, but as our application never closes, we encourage filmmakers to submit an application when they can best demonstrate their artistic intent.
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 6 months before an anticipated premiere. Picture-locked cuts are also ineligible for post-production funding.
WHAT WILL I NEED IN ORDER TO APPLY?
Completed Previous Directing Sample (any length or genre) -- optional
Current Sample/Rough Cut (Required for Production/Post Production)
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?
A staff member will first check your application for completion, and ensure that you are not missing any required materials, such as functioning links and passwords, as well as a complete proposal and budget. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed and you will be contacted in that circumstance.
Applications then go through a multi-stage review, with selected submissions sent for Sundance Documentary Fund Committee consideration. The Committee then meets to make recommendations regarding which projects are funded. Proposals to the Sundance Documentary Fund are evaluated on artful or innovative film language, clear storytelling, originality and feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience.
Award decisions typically take 3-5 months, occasionally sooner. 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 Documentary Fund FAQ. For technical issues related to Survey Monkey Apply please contact FRsupport@sundance.org.
START YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION
Go to the online application portal, sign up for an account or log in with an existing one.
Log in and select "Documentary Fund"