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Audience Engagement Checklist

For a printable version of the checklist, click here.
Grants are available for strategic activities that use your film as a tool to create social or cultural impact. Competitive projects are those that activate audiences and stakeholders with the issues in the film, and invite action and change. Strategies may be extremely simple, targeted and focused, or may have several components of a broad and far reaching campaign.
Grants range up to $20,000 and may fund an entire, discrete activity or may be a small part of a larger effort. Available only to current Sundance Documentary Film Program (DFP) grantees at any stage of pre-production, production and distribution, grants can be applied for through our Rolling Open Call, currently February-August. Grants are available for either PLANNING or for IMPLEMENTATION & EVALUATION.
Type A:  Audience Engagement PLANNING
  • PLANNING GRANTS help you consult with topic/issue advisors to determine goals and outcomes; devise strategy; convene or interview partners or stakeholders; Audience identification and segmentation; Impact and evaluation planning (including determining base line data).
  • IMPLEMENTATION & EVALUATION GRANTS help you produce tools, technology, or materials; travel to campaign specific sites;  conduct community screenings not covered by broadcasters, distributors or speaker’s bureaus; impact evaluation and measurement, other.
For information purposes only,  we request background information on your distribution activities. For additional help distinguishing distribution or marketing activity from audience engagement, please consider this Fledgling Fund article.

Distribution Background Facts
Please list current distribution agreements for your film, if any. List only secured distribution agreements. If you are still in process on the film or have no distribution agreements you are still eligible to apply for funds. 
  • Domestic or International broadcast agreements                                                                                                      
  • Sales agents attached                                                                                                                                                          
  • Festival premieres (international and national)                                                                                                          
  • National level awards                                                                                                                                                           
  • Theatrical distributors                                                                                                                                                           
  • Home video distributors                                                                                                                                                      
  • Educational video distributors                                                                                                                                           
  • Direct/Digital distribution with online vendors                                                                                                             
  • Self distribution on your own website URL                                                                                                                    
  • Short-form content based on the film                                                                                                                             
  • Other                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • Rights remaining?                                                                                                                                                                  
Lengths are suggested, not required. Please use your existing materials.
  1. STRATEGY (approximately 2-4 paragraphs)
  2. PARTNERS (approximately 1 paragraph plus list)
  3. TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES (approximately 1-2 paragraphs)
  4. TIMELINE AND SUSTAINABILITY (approximately 1-2 paragraphs)
  5. EVALUATION (approximately 1 paragraph)
You do NOT NEED to answer these reflection questions in your proposal, and you may have an entirely different strategy! The questions are designed to help you probe more deeply into your strategic design.

  • What are the primary problems illuminated by the film?
  • What is the source of the problems? (greenhouse gases, campaign finance, health insurance industry, military industrial complex, gender, racial or sexual disparities in health, wealth, education or public accommodation law? Other)
  • What accomplishable change might make things improved? (Unless you have a big team/budget/timeline, consider narrowing your focus to something impactful, but bite sized.)
  • Who has the capacity to make concrete changes? (legislature, corporation, teachers, grocery stores, regulatory bodies, etc.)
  • Who can put pressure on this target? (voters, shoppers, share holders, professional associations or credentialing bodies, the affected community, a proxy community, etc.)
  • How might you inspire viewers to reach the target and their constituents? What might you ask viewers to do?
  • Would different audiences need distinct messages and suggested actions?
  • Is there a menu of actions for distinct audiences?
  • Is this engagement activity created with or supported by your partner organizations?

  • What are the primary problems illuminated by the film?
  • What is the source of the problems? (greenhouse gases, campaign finance, health insurance industry, military industrial complex, gender, racial or sexual disparities in health, wealth, education or public accommodation law? Other)
  • Is the problem understood by many or few?
  • What values underlie problem (Poverty is the fault of the poor, domestic violence is a private problem).
  • What target group needs to feel invested in a cultural change in addition to those afflicted by the problem?
  • What values matter to your new target group? (Fairness, independence, family values, religious sanctity, law and order, American Dream, resourcefulness, etc.)
  • Can you harness those values to move cultural understanding of the problem?
  • How can you increase a sense of shared responsibility for the problem, and shared benefit from its solution (“Black Lives Matter”, “Je Suis Charlie”, “No H8”, “It Gets Better”, “Don’t be a Litter Bug”, etc?
  • What other cultural interventions might be employed (new super hero? Celebrity affiliation, etc.?)
  • Is this strategy created with or supported by your partner organizations?
  • Considering your strategic purpose or goals, which organizations are working in this arena with whom you might partner?
  • What type of organization are they? (membership, advocacy, policy/research, media, entrepreneurial, technological, educational, legal, etc. )
  • How could your film and campaign align with or forward their work?
  • How could the organization advance your campaign?
  • Please indicate whether partners are secured, approached, or intended.
Concisely describe tools or techniques you will utilize, if known.  Why is the tool or technique you selected the most effective way to achieve your vision? The list below is merely descriptive, not exhaustive, and some projects may use none of these.
  • 2D Engagement Material (study guides, quizzes, maps)
  • Interactive Technology (apps, games, interactive maps, “augmented” reality, avatars,)
  • Onsite activity  (targeted screenings (legislators, doctors), specially edited modules, site specific installation)
  • Product or Environmental Design (LED flashlights, solar cook pots, improved mosquito nets, public spaces/urban gardens.)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (micro-loans, mobile phone banking, “green” burials, mobile produce vans)
  • Community philanthropy (donate socks to border crossers, books or glasses to disadvantaged communities)
  • What is the intended time frame and why (three months? two years?) 
  • Are any “audiences” or communities engaged prior to seeing your completed film?
  • How will you know when your campaign is complete?
  • If your engagement project is not fully funded, what is the scaled down version of activity that would still reach a specific goal?
  • If significant opportunity to amplify impact were to arise, is there a scaled up version?
  • How might the work might continue after your engagement activity is completed and funding has ceased? Is there a partner who might take it over, if needed?
  • How will you define, and then measure, success? Consider impact on partners, audiences, or the constituency represented by the film subjects. You may measure anything in any way that best demonstrates your goals and outcomes.
  • Do you have baseline data (or partners that can provide data) against which to measure impact?  Tools or techniques for baseline determination might include analytic tools and data sets; publicly available references including press coverage and Google analytics. Consider measuring cultural change impact through language use or modification (Global Language Monitor, etc.), entertainment industry reflections (action heroes not smoking), viewer testimonies, anecdotal evidence, etc. This list is descriptive not directive.
  • Do you intend to produce an evaluation dashboard?

KEY PERSONNEL (1 paragraph each)
Provide BRIEF biographies (approximately 50-150 words) for key personnel or consultants who will plan, implement or evaluate audience engagement activity. Please indicate their role. DO NOT send resumes, CVs, brochures or extensive filmographies.

  • What is the total budget amount in $US for Audience Engagement activity?                                                 
  • What is the total funds secured (if any) in $US for this activity?                                                         
  • What are the sources of those secured funds (list)?                                                                                
  • Where will you seek additional funds? (list)?                                                                                            
  • What amount are you requesting from Sundance Documentary Fund?                                           

Please give a line item breakdown of expenses for Audience Engagement activity in U.S. dollars: PDF / Excel