2020 DFP Contributing Editor Fellowship FAQ

I’ve never heard the term “contributing editor”? What does this role encompass?

The contributing editor role is unique to the Documentary Edit and Story Lab. We are looking for editors with solid assistant experience who are looking to jump into editing or co-editing feature-length work. Contributing editors support lab projects both technically and creatively, participating in discussions with advisors and contributing ideas. 

What do I need to apply?

Applicants must submit an application online (detailing both your software and professional experience) and attach a written, verbal, or audio response as part of the last question of the application. This opportunity is by invitation only, and a password will be required to apply once you’ve been invited.

What kind of visual material is adequate for the application? 

You can submit a short film, scenes/sequences from a current project, or a scene/sequence from a completed feature documentary. Professional reels are accepted but do not tend to weigh heavily in selection. We are not hiring for technical expertise but rather need a strong sense of an editor’s creative instincts and goals for their career.

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

If you are selected to participate in the lab as a contributing editor, you are required to attend for the duration of the lab, as well as for setup and tear down. The 2020 lab runs June 19–29, and the CEs’ dates of participation are June 18–30. The lab takes place at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah.

If selected, what is expected of the contributing editor on-site at the lab? What is the balance of technical and creative work?

Contributing editors must be technically proficient in the software they are working in. CEs are the primary resource for troubleshooting any issues that might arise and the direct point of contact for the post-production supervisor. Contributing editors are also expected to be experienced editors who we carefully pair with each lab project, hoping for a creative collaboration. They are expected to contribute creatively to the project, and in most cases, contributing editors cut at least one scene in the course of the lab. 

Do contributing editors work with their assigned projects after the lab?

It is neither a requirement nor part of the fellowship that contributing editors work with their assigned projects after the lab.

How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?

The selection process involves two rounds of review. All applicants will be notified of their status after the first round of review via email in early 2020. The second round of selection happens in tandem with project selection and may require one to two phone and/or in-person interviews. Final notification is made by early May 2020.  

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

Participation in other labs and workshops does not factor heavily into consideration for the Documentary Edit and Story Lab. 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 for all selected fellows, as well as a $300 stipend. 

Still don’t see your question answered here? Email dfpfellowships@sundance.org with further questions with Contributing Editor Application in the subject line.