July 21, 2016

Got a Science or Tech-Themed Script? Apply for the Sundance Sloan Grant

The grant provides $20,000 to support the screenwriter, plus $5,000 for a science advisor. 

If you're currently working on a narrative feature script that focuses on science or technology, you will want to apply to the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant & Fellowship. The application process is now open and submissions will be accepted online until September 6, 2016 at 6PM PST. Both the Commissioning Grant and Fellowship provide cash support to screenwriters as well as funds for science advisors, plus continued support for the life of the project. Although scripts must be in English, writers from around the world are encouraged to apply.

According to the Sundance Institute website, these are the types of narrative projects it seeks:

We are looking for a diversity of stories that not only highlight science (which can include math, technology, medical research, as well as other sciences) as a central component, but also go beyond that thematically to engage us with strong characters and an engaging story. While biopics and historical films are welcome, we also encourage you to think outside the traditional mold of what a science film is, in terms of using the science/technology as a backdrop for stories about individuals, how it influences their lives, relationships, and unique perspectives.

Experimenter, supported by the Sundance Sloan Fellowship
'Experimenter,' written and directed by Michael Almereyda, based on the life of Stanley Milgram, was supported by the Sundance/Sloan Fellowship in 2008, and premiered at Sundance in 2015.Credit: Magnolia Pictures

To be eligible, the screenwriter(s) and project must meet the following requirements:

  1. For the Commissioning Grant, screenwriter(s) can be at any stage of their career, with no prior produced work or many produced works. For the Lab Fellowship, screenwriters must have no more than one produced feature screenplay.

  2. Project must incorporate real science and/or technology themes and/or characters. Stories that are sci-fi or futuristic in nature are not eligible.

  3. Project must be a feature length narrative film (no documentaries).

  4. Project must be live action (no animation).

  5. Project must be English language, although the screenwriter does not need to reside in the US.

  6. Status of project may range from detailed treatment to full screenplay form. However, only full screenplays will be considered for the Fellowship.

  7. If based on other material, the screenwriter (or submitting party) must have an option or ownership of the source material.

The Commissioning Grant provides $20,000 to support the screenwriter, plus $5,000 for a science advisor. The grantee will also receive direct feedback from a creative advisor and ongoing support from the Sundance staff.

The Fellowship provides access to a Screenwriters Lab, Directors Lab, Creative Producing Lab, Creative Producing Summit, or Sundance Film Festival, a cash grant of $10,000 to support the screenwriter during the writing process, and $5,000 for a science advisor. The Fellowship recipient will also receive ongoing support from the Sundance staff.

Application requirements include a logline, synopsis, brief description of the thematic core and scientific ideas in the script, an artist statement, bio, and $40 application fee. Be sure to check out the Sundance website for more specific details for each requirement and other optional items, plus a link to the online application    

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The Tribeca Film Institute does a similar thing with their Sloan Filmmaker Fund except submissions open September 6th, the day before the Sundance deadline, and runs to November 6th. Is it basically the same grant? From what I can see they look the same except for being sponsored by two different organizations. I'm just wondering if there's an advantage to applying to one and not the other.

http://applications3.sundance.org/res/p/sloan2017/
https://tribecafilminstitute.org/programs/detail/tfi_sloan_filmmaker_fund

July 23, 2016 at 7:20AM

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William Speruzzi
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