Sundance Documentary Fund for supporting documentary films and videos focused on current and significant issues and movements in contemporary human rights, freedom of expression, social justice, and civil liberties.

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 and public dialogue about contemporary issues.

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

  • Artful and innovative storytelling techniques
  • Global relevance
  • Contemporary social issues
  • Potential for social engagement

Funding Categories

Applications are accepted in two funding categories:

  • 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/Post-production grants provide funds up to $50,000 to filmmakers in various stages of the production and post-production process. Applications are required to include continuously edited material that is approximately 20 to 75 minutes for the project being proposed. The reel should convey the narrative and aesthetic visual for the final film. If available for consideration, longer cuts and fine cuts may be submitted. A previous sample work must also be included with the application.

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.