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2017 Catalyst Forum - Fiction Criteria

Application: By Invitation Only
Dates: September 24, 2017 - September 27, 2017
Location: Sundance Restort, UT
Number of Projects Selected: 5 to 6 feature length projects

​Eligibility Requirements:
-At least one member of the above-the-line team must be a Sundance alumna or alumnus.
-Feature length projects must have a director and producer attached. (A producer and director from each project will be invited to present at Catalyst Forum.)
-Projects with compelling, original subject matter and distinctive directorial vision.
-A link to a previous directing sample (optional).
-A completed screenplay.
-We will consider Micro-budget projects (under $500k) or projects with budgets in the $500k - $2 million range.
-Projects must be open to entry-level equity investments -- ie. 5-10% or less of the total budget.
-Projects must be ready to actively meet with financiers and advance to production in 2017 or 2018.
-Projects can be in development, packaging, pre-production, production, or post-production.

Description: Launched in 2013, Sundance Catalyst connects culturally-engaged investors with new independent film projects seeking financing and with the Sundance community. The invitation-only Catalyst Forum offers 35-40 prospective financiers the opportunity to meet the creative teams behind 10-12 of the most highly-anticipated feature and documentary film projects, selected by Sundance Institute’s Program Directors. Over three days at the Sundance Resort in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, the program delves into the risks and rewards of film investing through project presentations, case studies, round table discussions, industry seminars, special screenings and artist conversations. Project presentations, individually scheduled meetings, and informal social gatherings allow investors to interface directly with filmmakers, top advisors, and Sundance program leadership. The goal is to foster a meaningful dialogue that opens new paths to production for the most promising new independent films. To ensure the intimacy and effectiveness of Catalyst Forum, we invite only those creative investors who feel passionately about the work we do at Sundance and who have meaningful intent to invest in projects.

The first four years of Catalyst Forum (2013 - 2016) raised $13 million for the 47 documentary and fiction film projects presented. Rich Hill won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Four Catalyst projects premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival including The Hunting Ground, Cartel Land (U.S. Documentary Directing and Cinematography Awards), 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets (Special Jury Award for Social Impact) and The Witch (U.S. Dramatic Directing Award). Catalyst films The Bad Kids (Special Jury Award for Verite Filmmaking), Hooligan Sparrow, Newtown, Audrie & Daisy and Jacqueline (Argentine) premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Catalyst films at the 2017 Sundance Film festival include Eliza Hittman's Beach Rats (U.S. Dramatic Directing Award), Jeff Orlowski's Chasing Coral (U.S. Documentary Audience Award), Peter Nicks' The Force (U.S. Documentary Directing Award), Yance Ford's Strong Island (Special Jury Award for Storytelling), and Jennifer Brea's Unrest (Special Jury Award for Editing) as well as audience favorite, Patti Cake$.

Other Catalyst projects--Indian Point (2015 Tribeca Film Festival), Speed Sisters (2015 Hot Docs Film Festival), Mediterranea (2015 Cannes Film Festival), Shadow World (2016 Tribeca Film Festival), Solitary (2016 Tribeca Film Festival), They Call Us Monsters (2016 Los Angeles Film Festival), Dara Ju (2017 SXSW Film Festival) and The House of Tomorrow (2017 San Francisco Film Festival)--are flourishing.

If selected, the Catalyst Team will support the filmmakers to prepare the following in the lead-up to the Catalyst Forum:  
- A viable production budget and financing plan to present to creative investors.
- A live project presentation led by the director and producer including the story, visual materials, budget information, and a distribution + outreach plan.
- A designed and printed Project Deck to circulate during meetings with prospective creative investors.

Application Instructions (please read all!):
PLEASE NOTE: We accept application materials electronically ONLY. You will have a chance to save a work-in-progress version of your application before officially submitting, and we will ask you to upload your complete script rather than mailing us a hard copy. If you would like to submit more than one film project, please fill out a separate application for each project.

What you will need to complete online:
1. Application Form, including the following:

-Contact Information
-Team Bio(s)
-Project Synopsis
-Budget information, including budget total, budget gap, and sources, types, and amounts of funding secured.
-Artistic Statement
-OPTIONAL - Any relevant information such as special access to material, rights held, talent attachments, etc.

2. Links to current project footage and any previous directing samples you'd like us to see.

3. Upload a complete copy of your screenplay, which must be in the form of a .pdf document. The .pdf file will open automatically when uploaded; click the Back to Submission button at the top of the screen to return to your application.

4. Demographic Information. This is information requested about you and your project, standardized across all Institute programs, which remains confidential. Any answers you choose to provide do not in any way influence your candidacy.

5. OPTIONAL - Upload a lookbook for this project, which must be in the form of a .pdf document. The .pdf file will open automatically when uploaded; click the Back to Submission button at the top of the screen to return to your application. 

Then what?
You will receive an email notification when your application has been submitted, and there is no need to follow up with emailed materials. We'll reach out about your project status by the end of August, 2017. 

Please Note
Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions, we cannot provide individual feedback. If you have any other questions, please email

The Sundance Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and does not have an ownership stake in any projects that are submitted to, or selected for the Lab, nor are we attached in any producorial capacity.

All Creative Producing Programs, including Catalyst, are subsidiaries of the nonprofit organization Sundance Institute.