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application for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund

Application for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.

The deadline for the Documentary Fund is Monday, April 17, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Filmmakers who submit applications by then will be notified regarding the status of their application by fall/winter 2023.

In a changing media landscape, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has been a stable, progressive force in supporting work that has expressed the world in creative, complex, beautiful, and provocative ways, and it has created real cultural and social impact around some of the most pressing issues of our time. Recently supported films have included Always in Season; All That Breathes; Ascension; Collective; Crip Camp; Faya Dayi; Of Fathers and Sons; Fire of Love; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Hidden Letters; I Didn’t See You There; Mija; Minding the Gap; The Mole Agent; Softie; and Writing With Fire.


The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP) prioritizes support for independent nonfiction films with budgets under $1 million in U.S. dollars.

Creative and editorial control must be held by members of the films’ key creative teams.

For United States productions, the DFP prioritizes films led by artists from historically underrepresented communities. Projects that focus on historically underrepresented communities must have a key creative from the community or with deep ties to the community in a power-holding position represented on the team.

For international productions, we prioritize films led by artists from Africa, China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. Indigenous artists globally and artists from the above regions who are living in the diaspora are also prioritized.

Applicants may submit at any production phase from development through post-production. All proposals must convey some vision for a finished film. Projects that have not yet secured characters or subjects, are unable to articulate a story or structure, or are unable to explain the project’s driving central question are discouraged from applying. We are unable to consider proposals for story research. You do not need any prior funding or a fiscal sponsor in order to apply.

Once your film premieres, we are unable to provide post-production funding support. We therefore encourage applicants to apply at least six months before an anticipated premiere. Picture-locked cuts are also ineligible for post-production funding.

We accept resubmissions only when your project has advanced considerably in storytelling vision and intent, preferably at a later stage of production. We discourage more than three applications to the Documentary Fund over the life of a project. Projects that have previously received a grant through the Documentary Fund are not eligible to apply for additional funding through this open call. Contact DFP staff for more information.


Written proposal

Proposal Checklist
Line-item budget (sample budget: Excel)
Visual samples

Completed previous directing sample, any length or genre (optional)
Current sample required for production and post-production applications. See Proposal Checklist for length suggestions.


Go to and register for an account, or log in with an existing account.
Log in and select “2023 Documentary Fund Grant Application.”
Click “Apply.”
Get started!

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