Feature Film Program

About Feature Film Program

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has supported and championed many of the leading independent filmmakers of the past 30 years whose distinctive, singular films have engaged audiences worldwide. The unique vision of each filmmaker is embraced, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply resonant storytelling. The Institute's guiding values of risk-taking, experimentation, and freedom of expression have broadened the program to include American and international artists in a more meaningful and vibrant dialogue across cultural and geographic boundaries. Over the years, the Feature Film Program has evolved to provide in-depth and year-round support to a next generation of filmmakers, from development through distribution, and has become an international model for supporting artists around the world.

Over 400 films supported by the Feature Film Program have been produced including recent award-winners Damien Chazelle's Whiplash, Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre, Talya Lavie’s Zero Motivation, Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Haifaa Al-Mansour's Wadjda and Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox.


Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute Lab Program was created in response to the shared conviction that the budding independent film movement had the potential for far-reaching creative and cultural impact if given adequate resources and a place to foster self-expression and a sense of community. Thirty years later, under Michelle Satter’s continued leadership, the FFP’s network of Labs continues to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for filmmakers to incubate their most audacious ideas in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and failure is regarded as a valuable step in a project’s creative evolution.

  • Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship


    By Invitation


    May 29-June 22, 2017

    Size of Fellowship

    8 Projects each lab


    Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah


    There is no open application to the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have already been supported through a previous Screenwriters Lab.


    During the month-long Directors Lab, eight Fellows work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors and professional production crews, rehearsing, shooting, and editing key scenes from their scripts. Through this intense, hands-on process, the Fellows workshop scenes, collaborate with actors, and find a visual language for their film in an atmosphere where experimentation and risk-taking is encouraged. Directors Lab Fellows also join in the week-long Screenwriters Lab with five additional projects, participating in individualized story sessions under the guidance of established screenwriters. 2016 Directing Fellows recently shared advice they received at the Lab with Indiewire. Additionally Fellows, Eva Vives, César Cervantes and Sandhya Suri contributed pieces about their experience.

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  • Editing Intensive January 13-16, 2017
  • Still have questions? Read our FAQ January 13-16, 2017

Open Application Fellowships

Explore grants and fellowships, upcoming or currently open, to independent filmmakers: