Commissioning Grant & Fellowship

Established in 2005 to support the development of screenplays with science or technology themes, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides two different opportunities for screenwriters through a Commissioning Grant or a Fellowship. Both provide a cash award to support further development of a screenplay and to retain science advisors, along with overall creative and strategic feedback throughout development. Only one of each is awarded per year.

  • Project must be a feature length narrative (no documentaries).
  • Project must incorporate themes of real science and/or technology. They may NOT be science fiction in nature.
  • Screenwriter(s) can be at any stage of their career, with no prior produced work or many produced works. However, only emerging screenwriters (those with less than two produced screenplays) will be considered for the Fellowship.
  • Project must be live action.
  • Project must be English language, although the screenwriter does not need to reside in the US.
  • Status of project may range from detailed treatment to full screenplay form. However, only full screenplays will be considered for the Fellowship.
  • If based on other material, the screenwriter (or submitting party) must have an option or ownership of the source material.

The Commissioning Grant recipient will receive the following:

  • A cash grant of up to $20,000 to provide support during the writing period
  • A stipend of up to $5,000 for a science advisor and research
  • Creative support during the writing process from a Creative Advisor
  • The possibility of a Fellowship to a Lab
  • Creative and strategic support from the Feature Film Program staff

The Fellowship recipient will receive the following:

  • Attendance as a Fellow at a Screenwriters Lab, Directors Lab, Creative Producing Lab, Creative Producing Summit, or Sundance Film Festival
  • A stipend of up to $5,000 for a science advisor
  • A cash grant of up to $10,000 to provide support during the development of the project
  • Creative and strategic support from the Feature Film Program staff

What you need to apply

  • Logline (75 word maximum)
  • Synopsis (500 words maximum)
  • Brief description of the thematic core and scientific ideas being explored (75 word maximum)
  • Artistic Statement – Screenwriter’s creative intent for the script, which can include the genesis of the story, particular themes being explored, and why this story is of interest for the writer to tell (500 words maximum)
  • Additional Information (optional) – Any additional information such as status of the project, attachments, or prior science research done to date. (500 words maximum)
  • Bios for the screenwriter(s), director(s), and producer(s) (if applicable) (250 words maximum). Please specifically list all notable credits, accolades, education, and experience.
  • Name of person writing your recommendation letter. 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 familiar with your submitted project.
  • The letter of recommendation is to be mailed to Rebecca Green with a postmark date of September 7, 2012 or earlier to the postal address below.
  • Application fee of $35 (credit card only).

Once you electronically submit your application, there will be a link to view and print your completed application as a PDF file. Please save this file for future reference and in the case of any technical issues.

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