2018 Catalyst Forum - Documentary Criteria
Application: By Invitation Only
Dates: September 23, 2018 - September 26, 2018
Location: Sundance Resort, UT
Number of Projects Selected: 5 to 6 feature length documentary projects
- At least one member of the above-the-line team must be a Sundance alumna or alumnus.
- At least one member of the above-the-line team must be U.S.-based.
- Projects must have a strong producer attached. (A producer and the director from each project are invited to present together at Sundance Catalyst Forum.)
- Projects must have a budget gap and be open to equity investment from multiple individual investors as part of their financing plan.
- Projects can be in development, production or post-production, but must have sample footage to share.
- Projects with compelling, original subject matter and a distinctive directorial vision.
- Re-submissions are permitted if a major element has changed.
Description: Sundance Catalyst connects culturally-engaged film investors and funders with highly-anticipated film projects and with the Sundance community. The goal is to foster a meaningful dialogue that opens new paths to production for the most promising new independent films and to create a culture where investors and filmmakers can build fertile partnerships for the long-term. Over three days at the Sundance Resort each September, the invitation-only Catalyst Forum introduces prospective financiers to a slate of 10-12 top-notch, Sundance-supported documentary and fiction projects seeking financing. Through project presentations, individually scheduled meetings, and informal social gatherings, investors interface directly with filmmakers, top advisors, and Sundance program leadership. Additionally the schedule delves into the risks and rewards of film investing through case studies, round table discussions, special screenings and artist conversations. 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.
As a result of the first five years of Catalyst Forum gatherings, more than $20 million has been raised for 67 documentary and fiction film projects. Ryan White’s tour-de-force documentary series The Keepers was picked up by Netflix at Catalyst. Nine Catalyst films premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival: Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, Dark Money, The Devil We Know, Inventing Tomorrow, Night Comes On (NEXT Innovator Award), Sorry To Bother You, A Thousand Thoughts, This Is Home (World Documentary Audience Award), and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Six Catalyst films made waves at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival: Beach Rats (U.S. Dramatic Directing Award), Chasing Coral (U.S. Documentary Audience Award), The Force (U.S. Documentary Directing Award), Patti Cake$, Unrest (Special Jury Award for Editing) and Strong Island (Special Jury Award for Storytelling), which was also nominated for an Academy Award. Five 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. 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 and Ten Bullets(Special Jury Award for Social Impact) and The Witch (U.S. Dramatic Directing Award). At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the Catalyst project, Rich Hill, won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Meanwhile, additional Catalyst projects such as 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 International 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, distribution strategy, and an impact and 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. 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:
-Story and Topic Summary
-Audience and Distribution Strategies
-Budget information, including budget total, budget gap, and sources, types, and amounts of funding secured.
-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. 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.
4. 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.
You will receive an email notification when your application has been received, and there is no need to follow up with emailed materials. We'll reach out about your project status by the end of August, 2018.
Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions, we cannot provide individual feedback. If you have any other questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.