Founded by Robert Redford in 1981 in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Film Festival and artistic development programs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, writers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.
The programs of Sundance Institute include the annual Sundance Film Festival which is held in Park City each January and is considered the premier U.S. showcase for American and international independent film. The Institute supports nonfiction filmmakers through the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program by providing year-round support through the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund and a series of programs that encourage the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling and promote the exhibition of documentary films to increasingly broader audiences. The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is a year-round program dedicated to supporting artist development and the advancement of distinctive, singular independent projects. Each year 20-25 emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad participate in the program which includes the Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs, ongoing creative and practical advice, the post-production project, and financial support through fellowship opportunities. The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is committed to invigorating the national theatre movement with original and creative work and to nurturing the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Sundance Institute Film Music Program is dedicated to supporting the development of emerging film composers, as well as impacting the ways in which independent filmmakers approach music in their films. The Institute also maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.