The Sundance Institute is an offspring of the Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute is a multi-disciplinary arts organization dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work. The Institute seeks to offer the artistic and professional resources to filmmakers, writers, playwrights, actors, composers that will best realize new talent in an atmosphere of support, collaboration, freedom of expression and freedom to experiment. Each of the Sundance Institute's programs is guided by the primary aim of supporting artists whose work reflects an original, compelling vision.
The Institute's Feature Film Program has at its core the Screenwriters and Filmmakers Laboratories, held each year at Sundance, Utah. Designed to offer emerging screenwriters and directors the opportunity to develop new work, the Labs offer participating Fellows a creative environment away from the pressures of the marketplace and with the guidance of respected, veteran filmmakers. The Feature Film Program also includes a Screenplay Reading Series (in Los Angeles and New York) and the Native American Program, which supports new work by both emerging and established Native writers, directors, and producers.
The annual Independent Producers Conference offers a three-day, intensive focus on the professional and business aspects of independent film production such as marketing, financing, and distribution. Top industry professionals conduct sessions that utilize case-study analyses of independent films to guide Conference participants through issues in film production and financing.
The Film Music Program pairs Filmmakers Lab Fellows with accomplished composers who have yet to score a major motion picture. Aimed at enriching the relationship between composers and directors, Composers Lab Fellows work in close partnership with their counterparts in the Film Lab on their projects, while benefiting from the support of leading film composers who serve as Creative Advisors.
To encourage the exhibition of outstanding new independent films, the Institute sponsors the annual Sundance Film Festival. The Festival is now widely regarded as the preeminent showcase for new independent cinema. Some of the most compelling films of recent years have been developed and premiered at Sundance: Hoop Dreams, Smoke Signals, Central Station, Three Seasons, Boys Don't Cry, Love & Basketball, among many others.
The Documentary Film Program formalizes the Institute's longstanding commitment to nurture the growth of nonfiction filmmakers, to encourage the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling, and to promote documentary exhibition to a larger public. Program highlights include the House of Docs, a venue for professional exchange among documentary filmmakers, Gen-Y Film Summer Camp for high school students, and participation by documentary filmmakers in the annual Producer's Conference.
The Institute's International Program fosters the exchange of ideas, the freedom of expression, and the sharing of resources among American independent film artists and their colleagues in over ten countries. Since 1993, the International Program has focused intensively in Latin America, conducting Screenwriters Laboratories, Producers Conferences, and providing other resources and support to emerging artists in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The Program is also active in western and central Europe.
A highlight of the International Program, the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award is presented annually to one filmmaker each from Europe, Latin America, Japan, and the U.S. The prize carries support for film production and has an enviable record for "discovering" projects that have gone on to achieve international acclaim.
The Institute has had a long-term commitment to contemporary playwrights and to producing theatre for youth and families. The newly redesigned Theatre Laboratory has expanded its commitment to the collaborative nature of theatre and garnered national recognition. Lab projects now range in style from choreographic-based pieces to adaptations of poetry, and from solo works to large-scale plays with music. Nearly 90 percent of the work developed at the Theatre Lab from the last four years has gone on to full production. In its capacity as a producer, the Institute's Theatre Program revisits classic American musical theatre, presents live performances at the Film Festival, while encouraging and commissioning high-quality contemporary theatre for youth. Each year, the Sundance Theatre Program tours to over 100 schools in both urban and rural settings in Utah.
Out of concern that many independent films have not been preserved despite their cinematic and historical value, Sundance has established the Sundance Collection at UCLA. This groundbreaking collection---a partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive--- is specifically devoted to collecting, and preserving independent films. This initiative reflects a long-standing commitment on the part of the Institute to honor and learn from the work of independent filmmakers present and past, local and international. It serves as a valuable and singular resource of its kind to scholars, artists, and the public.
With the Sundance Writers Fellowship Program, the Institute supports the growth of a more thoughtful and incisive body of writing about the arts. Now in its second year, the Program offers writers of creative nonfiction the opportunity to immerse themselves in Sundance Labs in the U.S. and abroad, and at the Sundance Film Festival, in order to more deeply understand and articulate the nature of the creative process in a range of art forms.
When choosing Fellows for its Labs or films for the Festival, the Institute is committed to encouraging the recognition of diverse voices-Native American, African American, Asian, Latino, and women filmmakers, among others. The films and plays developed or premiered by Sundance over the past two decades reflect the diversity of American culture and have been seen by millions of people. In all of its work, Sundance embraces the values of independence and community.