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2019 Documentary Edit & Story Lab Application


The Documentary Edit and Story Lab is open to filmmaking teams based in the U.S. We consider teams from outside the U.S. by invitation only. You do not have receive a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund to be eligible for Labs. Active DFP grantee projects are automatically eligible for all creative Labs.  

June 21-29, 2019
The Documentary Edit & Story Lab supports filmmakers with nonfiction feature films  in post-production. Lab fellows advance their projects through rigorous creative exploration and discussion of story structure and character development. Filmmaking teams work closely with Creative Advisors (Editors and Directors) and staff in a dynamic and supportive environment. Fellows also receive ongoing creative and strategic post-Lab support.
Projects should be in post-production, at assembly through rough cut at the time of the Lab. Projects are reviewed in an attempt to understand where they are in the creative process, the story/structure issues they face in the edit, and how open they are to experimentation and collaboration. Ideally, teams are at a place in their edit where creative exploration with trusted Advisors will advance their project and bring a greater clarity of vision. First-time feature directors as well as mid-career artists are encouraged to participate in the Lab community. Past fellows include Jennifer Brea (Unrest), Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis (Whose Streets?), Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra (The Infiltrators) and Laura Poitras (The Oath).
Edit and Story Lab applicants are reviewed in two stages. You will be notified if you advance to the second stage of consideration and may be asked for an updated visual sample, production updates, as well as an interview. The second stage of review also requires a separate artist statement from the project’s editor, which you will have ten days to complete.
By applying to the Documentary Edit & Story Lab you are automatically considered for the Music & Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Ranch.
Music and Sound Design Lab
The Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab brings together 8 emerging film music composers with 8 filmmaking teams, and Skywalker sound designers in the spirit of experimentation. As the line between fiction and nonfiction storytelling has blurred in recent years, we feel that the community of artists will benefit from cross-pollination. Composers must apply independently to the Film Music Program. The Feature Film and Documentary Film Programs separately select 8 supported projects post-production to participate in the Lab.  Invited projects do not attend with their composer or sound designer.  Once accepted, composers are assigned independently to work with either a fiction or nonfiction projects during the Lab. Teams select a scene to work on together during the Lab.
Lab Format & Schedule
Four (4) documentary projects are paired with four emerging film music composers and Skywalker Sound affiliated sound designers. During the Lab teams of filmmakers, composers, and sound designers work together to select and create original cues for 1-2 scenes from their works in progress. The goal of the Lab is experimentation. Participants are not expected or encouraged to work together after the Lab.

  • Go to the online application portal, sign up for an account or log in with an existing one.
  • Log in and “Create a New Submission.”
  • Select “2019 DocumentaryEdit & Story Lab.” (make sure to chose2019 DocumentaryEdit & Story Lab)
  • Get started!

Contact for any additional questions.