Grants and Fellowships-Feature Film

In the increasingly challenging landscape of independent filmmaking, we recognize the importance of direct artist granting as a means of additional support and to spark momentum for projects supported in the Screenwriters, Directors, and Creative Producing Labs. A major component of the Feature Film Program’s support for filmmakers, these direct artist grants are targeted for development, preproduction, postproduction, and marketing/distribution and increasingly play a vital role in realizing our Fellows’ feature film. With the exception of the Sloan Commissioning Grant, these grants are designated for filmmakers selected to participate in the Feature Film Program’s Labs and are not open for applications.

Sundance Institute Indian Paintbrush Fellowship

With generous backing from film development/production/financing company Indian Paintbrush, the Sundance Institute Indian Paintbrush Fellowship offers grants to filmmakers selected for the Feature Film Program’s Directors, Screenwriters, or Producers Labs. Five or more filmmakers each year receive a grant to support the development, pre-production, post-production, distribution and/or marketing of their work. Indian Paintbrush fellows are distinguished by their independent vision, originality, and authentic voice; the grants are designed to provide momentum and sustainability at crucial moments in the lives of their projects. In addition, Indian Paintbrush underwrites a Producer’s Award with accompanying $10,000 grant to a producer whose film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance Institute/Annenberg Feature Film Fellows Program

With the generous support of the Annenberg Foundation, the Feature Film Program offers select Lab alumni the Sundance Institute/Annenberg Feature Film Fellowship as a means to support continued development, preproduction, completion, and distribution for their projects. Past Annenberg Film Fellows have included:

  • Tanya Hamilton, Night Catches Us
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
  • Elgin James, Little Birds
  • Dee Rees, Pariah
  • Sterlin Harjo, Four Sheets To The Wind
  • Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer
  • Sophie Barthes, Cold Souls
  • Emily Hubley, The Toe Tactic
  • Taika Waititi, Eagle vs. Shark

Click here for a full list of recipients.

Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship

To support the development of screenplays with science or technology themes, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide opportunities for both emerging and established filmmakers through a cash grant and fellowship. Established in 2005, the Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant is an annual cash award for a science- or technology-related project that is at an early stage, such as full treatment or early screenplay draft. Additionally, one Fellowship is awarded annually to an emerging screenwriter to support the ongoing development of a narrative, feature-length screenplay with science or technology themes. Click here to learn more about applying for the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship.

Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship

With a generous contribution from Cinereach, the Feature Film Program offers the Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship to Lab alumni whose projects push the boundaries of conventional storytelling. The first group of Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellows include Victoria Mahoney (Yelling To The Sky), Andrew MacLean (On The Ice), Braden King (Here), and Edwin (Postcards From The Zoo).

Please note that the Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellowship is available only to filmmakers already being supported by the Feature Film Program. For information on grants given directly by Cinereach, please visit their website:

Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award


The Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award recognizes and supports emerging independent filmmakers from four different regions annually. The Award is part of Sundance Institute’s long-term commitment to identifying and honoring new voices in World Cinema and the Mahindra Group’s dedication to supporting filmmakers from all over the world. Launched in 2011, the Global Filmmaking Award is a collaboration between Sundance Institute and the Mahindra Group, one of the largest companies in India known for its commitment to excellence and to social responsibility. Applicants will be selected from Fellows supported through the Feature Film Program and from the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab or Directors Lab. The Award includes the following elements:

  • A cash grant of $10,000 toward a first or second feature film project.
  • Attendance at one of the Feature Film Program Labs.
  • Year-round creative and strategic support from the Feature Film Program staff and Creative Advisors throughout the life of the project.
  • Attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for the announcement of the Award and industry meetings.

The partnership also includes the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India in 2012. For more information, please visit their website.

Time Warner Storytelling Grant

The Time Warner Storytelling Grant was established as a way for Time Warner to support emerging and diverse artists selected from Feature Film Screenwriters and Directors Lab Alumni. The grant provides up to $5,000 to support artists whose work uniquely positions and advances the concept of storytelling. The grant enables select Lab Alumni to focus specifically on the advancement of the narrative and voice in their projects. Time Warner Storytelling Fellows are chosen for the uniqueness and diversity of the project’s voice and narrative, and the particular timeliness of the story and its perspective. These artists will be developing projects that highlight the role of storytelling in specific aspects of the creative process show its importance in personal vision and perspective, and present it as a central component in embracing the diversity of our common experience. Past Time Warner Storytelling Fellows include Dee Rees (Pariah), Andrew MacLean (On the Ice), Elgin James (Little Birds), and Cherien Dabis (May In The Summer).

Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award

The Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award was established in 1996 by Sundance Institute in partnership with NHK to celebrate 100 years of cinema and to honor and support emerging independent filmmakers whose originality, talent, and vision contributes significantly to the future of world cinema.

For the past 14 years, the award was presented annually to four filmmakers (one each from the United States, Japan, Latin America, and Europe) to provide long-term support to directors as they begin work on their next projects and ensures that these films reach audiences worldwide.

Cruz Angeles’ Dont Let Me Drown (U.S.), Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer (U.S.), Gyorgi Palfi’s Taxidermia (Hungary), Rodrigo Moreno’s El Custodio (Argentina), Andrucha Waddington’s House Of Sand (Brazil), Catalin Mituscu’s The Way I Spent the End of the World (Romania), Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga (Argentina), Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s Whisky (Uruguay), and Walter Salles’ Central Station (Brazil) are just a few of the films which have been supported by the Sundance/ NHK International Filmmakers Award. Made early in these directors’ careers, each of these films were instrumental in launching the work of emerging filmmakers in their respective countries. Click here for a full list of award recipients.

Beginning with the 2011 award cycle, the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award will be suspended for the next two years. For the coming year, the award will continue with one Sundance Institute/NHK Award for an International Fellow who participates in our Lab program. We regret that until further notice we will not be accepting applications for the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award. Please know that we are working on new ways to support international filmmakers and that this remains at the heart of our mission. If you have any further questions, please e-mail us at

Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship

As associate director of the Institute’s Feature Film Program, Lynn Auerbach made a profound difference in the lives of the many screenwriters and filmmakers who came to know her. To honor her memory, this Fellowship provides concentrated support to one screenwriter being supported by the Feature Film Program. The Auerbach Fellow receives a cash stipend, dedicated yearlong mentorship from two Screenwriting Advisors, and a produced reading of her or his screenplay.

Donate to the Lynn Auerbach Memorial Screenwriting Fellowship

Maryland Film Fellowship

Presented in partnership with the Maryland Film Office, the Maryland Film Fellowship provides a Directors Lab Fellow with a $10,000 bridge grant as a means to move his or her project forward during the crucial phases of advanced development and preproduction. Past Maryland Film Fellows include Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her) and Tanya Hamilton, whose film Night Catches Us premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant

The Adrienne Shelly Women Filmmakers Grant was established to support the advancement of talented women filmmakers. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation provides a $5,000 grant to be awarded annually by the Sundance Institute to a filmmaker coming out of the Feature Film Program’s June Directors Lab. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the memory of the late writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly.

This grant was established to provide momentum and financial support for select female Lab participants as they focus on the next crucial steps in their filmmaking process. The first recipient, Maryam Keshavarz, participated in both the 2007 January Screenwriting Lab and the 2007 June Directing and Screenwriting Labs with her project Circumstance, which is in postproduction as of Summer 2010. Other Adrienne Shelly fellows include Dee Rees (Pariah, in postproduction) and Liza Johnson (Return).

Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award

The Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award is presented to a Feature Film Directors Lab Fellow in recognition of the filmmaker’s unique voice and talent. The Award provides a $15,000 grant to the filmmaker to help provide momentum and support in moving their feature film project forward. Past award recipients include Fellipe Barbosa (Casa Grande) and Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance).


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