Sundance Documentary Fund

From Sundance’s website

Apply for Support

Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grants are announced twice a year. Since its inception, the Fund has supported more than 500 films in 61 countries. A committee of human rights experts and film professionals make recommendations from projects submitted by filmmakers from around the world. The Fund reviews between 1,400 and 2,000 proposals annually, choosing 35-50 for support each year. In funding such work, the Documentary Fund encourages the diverse exchange of ideas that is crucial to fostering an open society, raising public consciousness about human rights abuses and restrictions of civil liberties, and fostering an ongoing dialogue about these and other pressing social issues.

The Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display:

  • Artful and innovative storytelling techniques
  • Global relevance
  • Contemporary human rights and pressing social justice issues
  • Potential for social engagement

Funding Categories

Applications are accepted in two funding categories:

  • Research/Development funding is provided to projects that are between development and preproduction. Grant amounts for this category are up to $20,000. There is no reel required with an application, but clips, teasers, trailers, or images are highly encouraged. A previous work sample is required.
  • Production/Postproduction grants provide funds to filmmakers in various stages of the production and postproduction stages. Applications should include 20–75 minutes of continuously edited materials for the project being proposed. Longer cuts and fine cuts can be submitted if available, as well as one previous sample work. The reel should convey the narrative and aesthetic vision for the final film.

If you have already received a grant from the Documentary Fund, there is an additional category for which you can apply for the same project. Audience Engagement grants support innovative outreach and engagement campaigns and cutting-edge multiplatform engagement strategies.


All Fall 2010 round applicants will receive notification by the end of December. Please do not call or email DFP staff to inquire about the status of a proposal. The online application for the upcoming Spring 2011 round will be available soon. Postmark Deadline: February 9, 2011.

Click here for the full online application guidelines and procedures.

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