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2018 Development Fellowship - FAQ

1. Do you have deadlines?
Candidates for the Documentary Film Program’s  2018 Development Fellowship must apply online before June 15th at 6pm PST.
2. At what point in my project should I apply?
Projects that are currently in an early-production stage. Projects must have confirmed access to characters and story. Research footage for a project is required at a minimum, up to 20 minutes  of visual material at a maximum.

3. What kinds of films do you support?
We support independent nonfiction films that display artful film language, effective storytelling, originality and feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience.

4. Is there an application fee to apply?
No. It is free to apply.

5. Who should apply?
Emerging independent US-based artists from underrepresented communities that have at least 1 completed project (short, series or feature) and have not previously been supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Must be working on a non-fiction feature.

6. I am a filmmaker from a country outside of the U.S. Am I eligible to apply?
This Fellowship is currently open to US-based artists only.

7. I have received a grant or award from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program previously, am I eligible to apply for this Fellowship?
This Fellowship is currently open to artists that have not previously been supported through the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Artists who have gotten support from other Sundance Institute programs (Feature Film Program, Native American and Indigenous Program, New Frontier, etc) are eligible.
8. I am already into production but do not have an edited visual sample, am I still eligible to apply?
Research footage at a minimum is required to apply, up to 20 minutes of visual material at a maximum.

9. How long does my completed prior work have to be?
Completed prior work may be any length from short, series, feature. It may be in any genre. You must submit it in its entirety. We will not consider segments of different projects on one reel as the Directing Sample. If you have multiple prior works, or several co-directors, please select one previous work which best reflects the vision for your new documentary.

10. Other than the Work-In-Progress sample and the Prior Directing Sample, are there any other video clips or samples that I need to provide?

11. What format should I submit my visual material in?
We ONLY accept samples via online streaming links. You MUST provide an online streaming link and password to your current rough cut/sample, and to your prior directing sample. We recommend using Vimeo ( for this service. When you register and upload your files, make your film downloadable. Your film should be available FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS after you submit your application. Please do not update or change your uploaded file or its password once you submit your application. When you apply for a grant through our website, paste in your Vimeo link and password. Please double check that you have entered the password correctly (remembering that Vimeo passwords are case sensitive). If we do not have the correct password, we will not be able to evaluate your project. Include the Vimeo link and password in your written proposal, as well. Please note, we do not accept WeTransfer, Drop Box or other such file transfer services for the visual material delivery.

12. Can I submit my visual samples on DVD?
No. All samples MUST be submitted as a link via a streaming platform such as Vimeo or Youtube.

13. What should I include in my treatment?
Please refer to the Proposal Checklist here

14. How long should the written materials be?
We appreciate clear and concise language that still richly explains the intended film. The guidelines in the Proposal Checklist are suggestive. There is no word count limit.

15. Does my proposal have to be in English?
Yes. We can only consider proposals written in English, accompanied by a budget translated into USD, and visual material in English or with English subtitles or transcript.

16. How many fellows will be selected?
2 Fellows will be selected for the 2018 Development Fellowship

17. How will I know if the DFP has received my proposal?
After you press submit on the online application, a confirmation page will appear. You should also receive a confirmation email once your application is submitted. If you have not received an email, please double check your spam filter and settings.

18. When will I find out if I have been selected?
All applicants will be notified via email. You will hear from us whether accepted or no via email no later than September 1, 2018. Please do not contact us to inquire about your status, as we can not provide status updates.

19. If my project is declined, will staff provide feedback?
No. Unfortunately, we have a very limited staff, and are unable to provide feedback.

20. Can I provide project updates once my application is submitted?
No. Unfortunately due to the volume of applications that we receive, we are unable to accept unsolicited updates.

21. If I receive a grant or award from another source, am I still eligible for this Fellowship?

22. If I receive this fellowship, what are the terms of the contract?
The project grants is not recoupable, and none of your exploitable rights are encumbered. Our contract requests: acknowledgement in the end credits of the film and on your promotional materials, 6 copies of the finished film on DVD, and 1 presentation-quality master. We require narrative, financial, and distribution reports, and social impact reports, where applicable. We request your active participation in the Sundance Institute creative community through invitation-only activities to support you and your film, as well as to support other filmmakers and the independent film field globally.

23. May I ask you to review an element of my proposal before I apply? For example, my website, trailer, or synopsis?
No. We only review complete proposals submitted through our web upload.

24. Where can I find additional answers to questions?
Still don’t see your question answered here? Email with further questions with “Development Fellowship” in the subject line.