The nonprofit global arts organization Sundance Institute and the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado announced today that the Stanley Hotel will host the Institute’s signature Directors Lab in 2024 with support from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). For over four decades, Sundance Institute labs have brought together promising new independent storytellers with accomplished artists to develop new work and build a long-lasting, vibrant community.
The Directors Lab nurtures diverse, original voices through an immersive filmmaking experience over two to three weeks every summer. Connected to nature, the lab creates a safe, inclusive space for first-time feature directors to rehearse, shoot, and edit scenes that will build their skills working with actors, exploring text, and finding the visual language and aesthetic for their films.
For over 40 years, the Directors Lab has taken place in the founding location of the Sundance Resort in Utah. Next year, the lab will relocate to Colorado while construction in outdoor areas and primary shooting locations takes place to enhance the Sundance property.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring the Directors Lab to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. In identifying a host for our Directors Lab, it was essential to find a space that was surrounded by nature for artists to create, had multiple environments for shooting, and could be an environment where artists could leave behind the distractions of everyday life and immerse themselves in their projects. We are deeply grateful to both the Stanley Hotel and the state of Colorado for welcoming the Directors Lab to Colorado,” said Michelle Satter, founding senior director of artist programs at Sundance Institute.
The nonprofit Sundance Institute today revealed an additional honoree of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s fundraiser, Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years Presented by Chase Sapphire®, which will take place on January 18, 2024, at the DeJoria Center in Utah. The gala, which kicks off the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, celebrates individuals who have made notable contributions to the storytelling landscape. This year, former Sundance Institute Board Chair and trustee Pat Mitchell will receive the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy, recognizing her exemplary commitment to the Institute’s support and to philanthropy for social impact.
As previously announced, the Opening Night Gala will also recognize Christopher Nolan, who will be honored with the inaugural Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award. Celine Song and Maite Alberdi — who premiered their films Past Lives and The Eternal Memory, respectively, at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival — will each receive the annual Vanguard Award Presented by Acura.
The annual Opening Night Gala enables the nonprofit to raise critical funds to support independent artists year-round through labs, grants, and public programming that nurture artists globally. The 2024 event is made possible with the generous support of Chase Sapphire and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The upcoming Sundance Film Festival will take place January 18–28, 2024, in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as online from January 25–28.
“It is with immense excitement that we will honor Pat Mitchell at our Opening Night Gala,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “Beyond being a stalwart champion of the role of media and storytelling as an agent for social change, Pat is a fierce advocate for gender and racial equality, and in all her diverse roles and responsibilities — as a journalist, documentary producer, and media executive — has supported the stories and ideas that move us forward toward a more equitable future. Pat’s career and commitments of her time and resources epitomize what it means to be a leader for positive change. I am honored to celebrate Pat and the boundless value of independent storytelling as we near the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival.”
Today, the nonprofit Sundance Institute and The Walt Disney Studios are proud to announce the establishment of the Project Advancement and Completion Fund, an initiative designed to provide grants to fiction directors from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. This fund aims to empower and uplift filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and genres, fostering a more inclusive cinema landscape.
The Project Advancement and Completion Fund will support nine directors currently engaged in fiction features through Sundance Institute’s esteemed artist programs. These talented filmmakers, hailing from a range of traditionally underrepresented communities, including women, AAPI, Black, Indigenous/Native, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, disability-identifying, and religiously marginalized individuals, will be granted the resources needed to bring their unique visions to life.
“After working with several Sundance filmmakers, we know how important it is for directors to develop their first independent feature films in order to take on larger projects at the studio level and we couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with Sundance Institute in an effort to help them do just that,” said Mahin Ibrahim, Director, Creative Talent Pathways, Representation & Inclusion Strategies. “At Disney, we believe in the power of diverse voices and storytelling, and this initiative reaffirms our commitment to empowering underrepresented talent in the industry.”
The nonprofit Sundance Institute today unveiled details for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s fundraiser, Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years Presented by Chase Sapphire® which will take place on January 18, 2024 at the DeJoria Center in Utah. Kicking off the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the evening will honor trailblazing and breakout storytellers, as well as celebrate 40 years of Sundance’s commitment to elevating independent storytelling. Christopher Nolan will be honored with the first-ever Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award. Celine Song and Maite Alberdi — both of whom premiered films Past Lives and The Eternal Memory, respectively, at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival — will each receive the annual Vanguard Award Presented by Acura.
The annual opening night gala enables the nonprofit to raise critical funds to support independent artists year-round through labs, grants, and public programming that nurture artists globally. The 2024 event is made possible with the generous support of Chase Sapphire. The upcoming Sundance Film Festival will take place January 18–28, 2024 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as online from January 25–28.
“As we step into the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, it is a distinct honor to recognize Christopher Nolan, a prodigious artist whose singular talent and remarkable body of work have made him one of the most respected filmmakers of our time. We are looking forward to spotlighting the unique voices of both Celine and Maite, storytellers we have been supporting and deeply believe in. All three of these storytellers represent Sundance’s values,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “From the Festival to our year-round programs, it is artists that have and always will be at the very core of what we do. We look forward to our guests joining us at the Opening Night Gala and, in turn, enabling us to continue championing independent storytellers and their art that adds great value to our culture.”
The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) and the Sundance Institute are proud to return for the second year of the “Sundance Institute | The Asian American Foundation Fellowship and Collab Scholarship” to provide AAPI artists working in film and television with professional development opportunities and community building with like-minded creatives and mentors. This program supports artists across the spectrum of their career from emerging artists to more established ones with the goal of meaningfully increasing AAPI representation in independent media.
TAAF’s support for the program is part of its ongoing commitment to narrative change, an initiative focused on portraying AAPIs authentically to build belonging in America. “In order to see genuine depictions of AAPIs that reflect the nuances of our experiences and our intersectionalities, the diversity of talent behind the camera is as integral as that of those on screen,” said Norman Chen, CEO of TAAF. “TAAF is grateful to our philanthropic partners The MacArthur Foundation and Panda Express, whose support ensures that AAPI artists have the resources and mentorship to bring their stories to life.”
The fellowship offers six AAPI artists per year a year-round learning experience to advance their professional development in the arts. Through the fellowship, each artist receives creative and tactical support along with a $20,000 unrestricted grant. Six emerging AAPI creatives receive Collab Scholarships, which include a self-paced course on Sundance Collab, bespoke feedback on their current project, and engagement opportunities with Sundance staff and the creative community. Artists can be working in film or television across fiction or nonfiction.
“We’re so excited to continue uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander voices through this collaboration with TAAF,” said Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Director, Artist Accelerator at Sundance Institute. “Last year’s fellowship and Sundance Collab scholarship bolstered our support of fresh diverse AAPI voices, and we look forward to discovering where these opportunities will lead another group of talented storytellers from the community.”
The nonprofit Sundance Institute and Sandbox Films today announced eight projects selected for the 2023 Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund. The Fund offers grants and mentorship for independent artists seeking to explore the intrinsic link between science and culture through innovative storytelling.
The selected project teams receive nonrecoupable grants totaling $325,000 for their projects in the stages of development, production, and post-production. The filmmakers will also receive customized film support and join Sundance Institute’s year-round artist community, with meaningful opportunities to connect with Sundance’s network of alumni and creative advisors, as well as Sandbox Films’ roster of renowned scientists.
The grantees’ projects invite viewers to wonder at the natural world and consider the plights of scientists caught in complex webs of immigration, exile, diaspora, and geopolitics, and highlight, among other themes, the deconstruction of colonial legacies and the resurfacing of local and Indigenous knowledge and expertise, particularly related to local and regional ecology.
“We are thrilled to announce the latest cohort of Sundance | Sandbox grantees. This exciting new group of projects showcases an incredibly diverse tapestry of artistic approaches and daring creative visions that continue to redefine what a ‘science film’ can be. From India to the Caribbean, Madagascar to the Everglades, the people and stories spotlighted in these films shed light on the deeply collaborative nature of scientific practice and its crucial role in working toward a brighter future for humanity and its planet,” said Paola Mottura, Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Fund.
“We continue to be blown away by the diversity of stories highlighting scientific inquiry that come through this grant program. It is an honor to work with the team at Sundance, and we look forward to supporting this talented group of artists as they bring these films to life,” said Jessica Harrop, Head of Production and Development at Sandbox Film.”
Sundance Institute Announces the 2023 Documentary Fund Grantees.
23 projects to receive grants totaling over $1,000,000
The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced this year’s grantees for the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, which supports the work of nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Twenty-three projects have been selected for unrestricted grant funding totaling just over $1,000,000. This granting cycle’s recipients are in various stages: 6 in development, 14 in production, and 3 in post-production. In a changing media landscape, the Documentary Fund has been a stable, progressive force in supporting work that has expressed the world in creative, complex, and provocative ways and has created real cultural and social impact around some of the most pressing issues of our time. Grants are made possible by the Open Society Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gucci, and the Kendeda Fund.
The Fund prioritizes supporting and empowering historically marginalized voices and providing a platform for integral stories to be amplified. It is committed to elevating global voices and celebrating the rich diversity of filmmaking traditions around the world. Many of the international projects supported with this round of funding reflect a priority of supporting artists living and working in regions that lack a robust infrastructure of support for independent film, regions of conflict, and countries where freedom of expression is under threat.
Many projects in this year’s slate take on subject matter that showcases humanity in the face of oppression, global views on conflict and war from the past and the present, community archive building, and protagonists who are empowered to tell their stories exploring themes of human rights, social justice and coming of age.