2020 Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship: Documentary Film FAQ

How do I apply?

Candidates for the 2020 Documentary Creative Producing Fellowship must apply online anytime before Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. PST. 

What do I need to apply?

Eligible candidates must live in the United States, though the project may be filmed outside of the country. You must have produced at least one short or feature film as lead producer or co-producer (experience as an executive, associate, or line producer does not qualify).

Do you accept short films?

No, only feature length projects are eligible.

If selected, when do I have to be available to participate, and do I have to be there the entire time?

If your project is selected, you are required to attend the Creative Producing Lab (July 27–30, 2020) and the 2021 Sundance Film Festival (January 21–31). Sundance Institute covers airfare, ground transportation, and lodging at each event. If you have a scheduling conflict, we encourage you to apply in a future cycle when you are available.

Can I still apply if I don’t have a director attached?

No, we can only consider candidates with projects that have a director attached. Fellowship candidates may not be the director of the submitted project.

I work with another producer; can we both apply with the same project?

Yes, teams of up to two producers may apply together with one project. Please provide essay answers for each producer applying, labeled clearly with each of your names. If there are additional producers, they must also be disclosed on the application but would not participate in the fellowship.

Do I need to submit a budget with my application?

Yes, you will need to submit a line-item budget with your application. We ask that you break down all expenses from development through release in U.S. dollars, including a grand budget total. You may view a sample budget on the Documentary Film Program’s webpage in PDF or Excel format. This sample budget is provided as a reference tool only; you may use your own format.

What is the ideal stage of production to be in to benefit the most from the lab?

For a project to benefit the most from lab and fellowship opportunities, you must be solidly in development with your characters, have access secured, and have enough shooting to have a sense of film structure and dramatic potential. Candidates in production or post-production are best positioned to take advantage of the lab and fellowship. We consider the timing of the lab and fellowship to be a crucial component of selection. The lab is designed, in part, to focus on your creative input and communication with your director and other collaborators on your project.

If I am accepted into the lab, does this mean my project has a better chance of receiving funding from the Sundance Documentary Fund? Conversely, if I am not accepted to the lab, will this impact future grant applications to the Sundance Documentary Fund?

The Sundance Documentary Fund application is separate from the Documentary Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship application, and applying to either one does not affect your chances for the other. 

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 no later than June 5, 2020.

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. All applicants will receive a response via email no later than June 5, 2020.

Does it matter if I’ve participated in other non–Sundance Institute labs?

Not at all. We encourage filmmakers to utilize all of the resources available to them in furthering their work and their artistic development.

Can I receive feedback on my submission?

Due to the high volume of submissions, we are unfortunately not able to provide individualized feedback.

Does Sundance Institute pay for my travel to Utah?

Sundance Institute does provide air travel, lodging, and meals at the lab, as well as air travel and lodging at the Festival.

Still don’t see your question answered here? Email documentarycpi@sundance.org with further questions, and put “Creative Producing Fellowship” in the subject line.