2020 FFP Creative Producing Lab FAQ

1. How do I apply?
The application for the 2020 Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship can be accessed at apply.sundance.org from November 5, 2019, to February 11, 2020.

2. What do I need to apply?

For the initial application, you will need to submit the following:

  • Contact info: We will use the email address you provide to correspond with you moving forward. Please make sure producers@sundance.org is cleared in your spam filter! For technical questions, please contact frsupport@sundance.org.

  • Logline (75 words max)

  • Synopsis (750 words max)

  • Director’s artistic statement (500 words max): This statement should detail the director’s creative intent for the film, which can include the genesis of the story, particular themes of interest, and visual style. 

  • Additional information (optional; 500 words max): This should include any additional information such as status of the project, attachments, or other producers attached who are not applying for the fellowship and their role on the project.

  • Bios (300 words max each): Bios should be included for the applying producer(s), the screenwriter(s), and the director(s). Please specifically list all notable credits, accolades, education, and experience. For any previous work listed, please note the format of the work (i.e., short film, feature, or episodic; fiction or nonfiction).

  • Essay questions (500 words max each): You will be asked to answer a series of seven essay questions that will allow us to better understand your point of view as a producer and also why you want to make the project you are applying with. Click here to view the essay questions.

  • Letter of recommendation: You will be asked to upload a PDF of one letter of recommendation. Your recommender should be someone familiar with your prior creative work, such as a filmmaking colleague or professor, but does not necessarily need to be someone familiar with your submitted project. The recommender should not be attached to the project in any position. (For example, the recommender cannot be the writer, director, co-producer, cinematographer, etc.) If you are applying as a team, you can submit one joint letter or separate letters. Your letter must be uploaded by the deadline in order for you to submit your full application.

  • Application fee of $40 (credit card only)

Please note: No scripts or additional materials will be accepted at the first stage of the application process.

If your application is accepted for the next round, you will need to submit the following additional materials:

  • Full script: Upload a PDF file of the most current draft of your script.

  • Directing sample: You will be asked to provide a link (and password, if applicable) to one directing sample for the director attached to your project. This sample should be recent and relevant to the project you are submitting, and it should also be a complete work (i.e., not a compilation reel). If your project has more than one director, please submit a sample that reflects their work as a team, if possible.

  • Producing sample: You will be asked to provide a link (and password, if applicable) to a producing sample that is recent and relevant to the project you are submitting. If you are submitting as a producing team, you can upload one sample that represents the team or two individual samples. Please submit complete works, not compilation reels.

3. Do you accept international submissions?
Eligible candidates must live in the United States, though the project may be filmed internationally.

4. Do you accept short films?
No, only feature-length projects are eligible.

5. Can I submit a nonfiction project?
There is a separate Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship for documentary projects, with a separate application process. More information can be found about support for nonfiction projects on the Documentary Film Program page.

6. 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 be at the Creative Producing Lab, the Creative Producing Summit, and the Sundance Film Festival for the entire duration. Sundance Institute covers airfare and lodging for all three events. If you have a scheduling conflict, we encourage you to apply in a future cycle when you are available.

7. What are the dates I must be available to participate in this fellowship?
The dates for the 2020 Creative Producing Lab are July 26–30, 2020. The dates for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival are January 21–31, 2021. The dates for the 2020 Creative Producing Summit are still to be determined. 

8. Can I reapply with the same project as last year?
Yes, although we encourage you to reapply with the same project ONLY if you have made significant revisions to the script and/or elements attached. In your application, please explain what changes have taken place on the script and project since last submitted.

9. 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. Candidates may not be involved as a writer or director of the submitted project.

10. 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. If there are additional producers they must also be disclosed on the application, but they would not participate in the fellowship should the project be selected.

11. Can I submit multiple projects?
You may submit up to three projects, but we encourage you to choose two projects that are your priority in terms of moving forward. Please note that for each script, you must complete a separate application and submit a separate application fee.

12. Do I need to have the rights to the script or underlying material in order to apply?
In order to apply, you will need the approval of your director and writer acknowledging the submission of your project for consideration to the fellowship. In the event you are selected for the fellowship, you will need to provide a copy of your attachment, option, or rights agreement for the script and for any underlying material. 

13. Do I submit a script or other materials with my application?
No, you should not submit your script at this time. Starting March 2, 2020, we will begin requesting additional materials—which include a full script, directing sample, and producing sample—for applicants invited to the second round. All applicants will receive notification via email about their initial application status no later than March 19, 2020.

14. Do I need to submit a budget with my application?
No, you do not need to submit a budget with your application. However, you will need to provide the overall budget number (e.g., $1.2 million).

15. Can my project go into production before attending the lab?
Unfortunately, no. We consider the timing of your lab and fellowship to be a crucial component to selection. The lab is designed, in part, to focus on your creative input and communication with your director and screenwriter on your fellowship project. If your film is already in production or has already been shot, the impact and relevance of your lab experience are lessened.

16. Who should I have to write my letter of recommendation?
Ideally, your recommender should be working in the film industry (e.g., a producer, director, executive, film professor, etc.) and be familiar with your past work. They do not need to be familiar with the project you are submitting. If you do not have prior film work or relationships, your recommender should be able to address your past creative endeavors.

17. Where do I send my letter of recommendation?
You will need to upload your letter of recommendation into your online application as a PDF. Recommendation letters must be included at the time of application and cannot be uploaded after submission.

18. How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?
All applicants will be notified via email, whether accepted or not. Notifications of initial application status will be sent out no later than March 19, 2020, and final notifications no later than June 5, 2020.

19. 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 March 19, 2020 for their initial application status, and no later than June 5, 2020 for final status.

20. 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.

21. Can I receive feedback on my submission?
Due to the high volume of submissions, we are unfortunately not able to provide individualized feedback.

22. Does Sundance Institute pay for my travel to Utah?
Sundance Institute provides air travel within the U.S., lodging, and meals at the lab and summit, as well as air travel (also within the U.S.) and lodging at the Festival for all selected fellows.


23. Do I have to submit my application electronically?

We accept all application materials electronically only, and you must sign in or create an account to access the electronic application. You do not have to finish the application all in one sitting; you can save a work-in-progress version of your application before officially submitting. 

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