$1.2 Million To Support Independent Feature-Length Documentary Films

Exploring Social Entrepreneurship

Los Angeles, CA – Sundance Institute announced today the opening of a Request for Proposals for STORIES OF CHANGE: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN FOCUS THROUGH DOCUMENTARY. The one-time funding initiative will provide $1.2 million in film project grants to enable the development and/or production of new feature-length independent documentary films that frame, examine and amplify social entrepreneurship as an innovative approach to the central questions of our time.

STORIES OF CHANGE is part of a $3 million, three-year partnership with the Skoll Foundation designed to explore the role of film in advancing knowledge about social entrepreneurship. The initiative builds on earlier work between the Skoll Foundation and Sundance Institute to combine the art of storytelling with the impact of social entrepreneurship. This partnership will help create new opportunities for leading social entrepreneurs and outstanding documentary filmmakers to collaborate and to create new projects that advance the innovative approaches found in both fields. The initiative anticipates funding up to 8 films in the range of $30,000-$150,000 per project, with editorial control being retained by the filmmaker(s).

"Documentary filmmakers and social entrepreneurs have much to contribute to the challenges we currently face as a global society,” said Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. "This initiative is the first of its kind to bring the two fields together to seek inspiration, innovation, and creative experimentation around our most urgent social concerns."

“The Sundance Documentary Film Program is designed to nurture film artists who tell vibrant stories about contemporary social issues,” said Ken Brecher, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. "Social entrepreneurs are, by definition, people who imagine and invent concrete new solutions to those issues. Together, filmmakers and social entrepreneurs can envision new possibilities for the future."

In addition to funding the creation of new documentary films, STORIES OF CHANGE supports convenings of leaders in both documentary film and social entrepreneurship at key gatherings over the course of the three year partnership. Recent convenings have been held at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and at the 2008 Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. The initiative aims to expand the audience for documentary films concerned with social entrepreneurship; create an online resource for social entrepreneurs and filmmakers to facilitate individual and community-level networking, collaboration and exchange of information, knowledge and expertise. It will also present case studies to frame and shape how those working in social entrepreneurship and film/media approach creative concept development.

Request for Proposals Opens: June 16, 2008

Deadline for Submissions: August 15, 2008

Awards Announced: December, 2008

Those with proposals for documentary films on topics in social entrepreneurship, including the work of specific social entrepreneurs, are encouraged to apply directly to Sundance online. Projects that demonstrate high potential for co-production and distribution possibilities, including theatrical, broadcast, home and educational video sales, etc. are eligible. Films at any stage of development, production or post-production may apply. Completed films will not be considered. Interested parties are directed to visit and or to query

Sundance Documentary Film Program

The Sundance Documentary Film Program is dedicated to supporting U.S. and international feature documentary films that focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression, social justice, civil liberties, and other contemporary issues. The Sundance Documentary Film Program provides year-round creative support to nonfiction filmmakers through labs, works-in-progress screenings, and related activities supporting distinct stages of the filmmaking process. In its next phase, the Sundance Institute Documentary Program is poised to herald the growing significance of human rights in film, media and related fields globally.

The Sundance Documentary Fund is a central element of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program, and considers projects in Research & Development, or Production & Post-Production. Films that inspire the imagination and articulate fresh considerations of national and transnational issues are encouraged to apply. Since 1996, the Program has supported over 450 films in 52 countries, providing grant awards and a continuum of support throughout the life of a project. Films supported by the Program have received widespread distribution to their intended audiences via broadcast and theatrical release, and many have garnered a number of awards and exceptional industry recognition. Films have included My Country, My Country; Iraq in Fragments; Why We Fight; Born Into Brothels; The Inner Tour; The Devil Came on Horseback; and Everything's Cool.

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their work. Since its inception the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for filmmakers and other artists. Sundance Institute conducts national and international labs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The Sundance Film Festival, a major program of Sundance Institute held each January, is considered the premier showcase for American and international independent film. The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is a year-round program supporting artist development and the advancement of distinctive, singular independent projects through Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs, ongoing creative and practical advice, the post-production project, and financial support through fellowship opportunities. The Sundance Institute Theatre Program invigorates the national theatre movement with original and creative work, and nurtures the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nonfiction filmmakers through the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund and programs that nurture growth and innovation in documentary storytelling. The Film Music Program supports and nurtures emerging film composers and inspires new ways for independent filmmakers to approach music in their films. The Institute maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.

Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to innovative, bottom-up solutions that transform unequal and unjust social, environmental and economic systems.

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation's flagship program. There are currently 50 organizations represented by 59 remarkable social entrepreneurs, working individually and together across regions, countries and continents to evolve the field of social entrepreneurship into a global movement for social change. The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs and other partners in the field via an online community at, and through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The foundation also celebrates social entrepreneurs by telling their stories through partnerships with the PBS Foundation and the Sundance Institute, with the goal of promoting large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit