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2019 Development Track Instructions

We accept all application materials electronically ONLY. You will have a chance to save a work-in-progress version of your application before officially submitting.

You must sign in or create an account to access the electronic application located at http://applications6.sundance.org/.

The Development Track has one open application that allows your fiction feature work-in-progress screenplay to be considered for the following programs, fellowships, and grants:

  • Screenwriters Lab (held annually in January)

  • Screenwriters Intensive (held annually in March)

  • FilmTwo Intensive (held annually in March)

  • Sundance Institute/Asian American Fellowship

  • Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Latinx Fellowship

  • Sundance Institute Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and Commissioning Grant

  • Sundance Institute Open Borders Fellowship (for international directors based outside the U.S.)

Our application includes questions to determine your eligibility for each program and fellowship, and you will automatically be considered for all programs and fellowships for which you are eligible. (There is no open application for the Directors Lab, which is typically populated by projects that have been supported through a previous development program.) For more information about each program and fellowship, please visit our website


What you need to complete online by MAY 15, 2018 at 6 pm PT:

  • CONTACT INFO for the Primary Applicant and up to 2 additional members of the creative team.

  • ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS - a series of questions about you and your project which will determine your eligibility for all of the Development Track programs and fellowships.

  • SLOAN FELLOWSHIP AND GRANT QUESTIONS (Sloan applicants only) - if your project is eligible for the Sloan Fellowship and/or Commissioning Grant, you must complete follow up questions regarding the scientific or technological content of the material.

  • BIOS (500 word max) for the Primary Applicant and up to 2 additional members of the creative team.

  • COVER LETTER (750 word max) - please introduce yourself and your project. There are no strict requirements for this letter, but we’d like to get a brief idea of who you are, what your script is about, where you are in the creative process, and how specifically you think the Lab process could be helpful to you.

  • ARTISTIC STATEMENT (1000 word max) - please describe your creative vision for the project. What is your personal connection to the material? What themes are you most interested in exploring in your work, and what do you want an audience to take away from your film? How do you envision the realization of this script in terms of story, character, tone, and/or visual style? Is there a budget level you have in mind? Who do you see as the audience for this film? Why are you passionate about telling this story now? If this is a resubmission of material we’ve previously considered, how has the material changed since we last read it?

  • LOGLINE - 1 to 2 sentence description of your story.

  • SYNOPSIS (1000 word max) - a brief summary of the plot of your script. Please include all major characters and story points, including the ending.

  • FIRST 5 PAGES OF YOUR SCREENPLAY OR TREATMENT - you may submit a treatment for the Sloan Commissioning Grant ONLY. If a treatment is submitted and it is not eligible for the Sloan Commissioning Grant, the project will not be considered for any other Development Track programs or fellowships. Do not upload more than the first 5 pages.

  • APPLICATION FEE OF $40


Next Steps:
Applicants will be notified on a rolling basis as to whether their application has progressed to the next stage of the selection process. Please be prepared to submit the following materials should you advance to the second round. You will be given approximately 10 days from the date of notification to submit these materials, and will be notified sometime in late July or August 2018.

  • FULL SCREENPLAY OR TREATMENT - upload a PDF file of the most current draft of your screenplay or treatment. You may submit a treatment for the Sloan Commissioning Grant ONLY. If a treatment is submitted and it is not eligible for the Sloan Commissioning Grant, the project will not be considered for any other Development Track programs or fellowships.

  • DIRECTING SAMPLE - if you are a writer/director or if a director is attached to the project, you will have an opportunity to submit a link to a directing sample or samples. Please include the title and run time for any sample submitted.


All applicants will be notified about their status via email no later than August 24, 2018. Due to the high volume of submissions, we are unfortunately unable to provide feedback about individual projects. If you have additional questions, please visit the Development Track FAQ

If you have further questions, please email featurefilmprogram@sundance.org


Development Track Selection Process Timeline:

April 3, 2018 - Application Available Online

May 15, 2018 - Application Closes (6 pm PT)

August 24, 2018 - Second round notifications complete

December 14, 2018 - Final selection notifications complete


Giving Back:
In return for participation in a Screenwriters Lab, fellows are obligated to sign an agreement stipulating that (a) they will make a contribution to Sundance of 0.25% of their film's final budget in excess of $1,000,000 (the "Budget Participation"), (b) Sundance will receive 1% of 100% of the film's net receipts, and (c) Sundance will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles.  If a Screenwriters Lab project later participates in a Directors Lab, Creative Producers Lab, and/or receives Sundance-affiliated grant support exceeding $10,000, the Budget Participation may increase to 0.5 or 0.75%.  Any revenue that is designated to Sundance is allocated to the Feature Film Program and is used on an annual basis to provide critical support for the Labs.

Participation in all other Development Track programs and fellowships also obligates fellows to include a Sundance credit line and logo placement in the film’s end titles, but do not require a financial contribution back to Sundance.