Sundance Institute Launches $1 Million Fund in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

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Sundance Institute is launching a $1 million fund to support the immediate needs of artists, filmmakers and organizations that share its focus on inclusive storytelling.

The non-profit institute, which organizes the Sundance Film Festival, said that one-third of the fund will support Sundance Institute-curated artists. The rest is ear-marked for emergency support for the wider community of independent artists — deployed in collaboration with partner nonprofit organizations.

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The announcement was authored by Keri Putnam, executive director; Michelle Satter, feature film program director; and film festival director Tabitha Jackson.

“There can be no return to business as usual,” said festival executive director Keri Putnam, feature film program director Michelle Satter, and film festival director Tabitha Jackson in a statement. “When history looks back, this will either be the moment when we invested in artists, making it possible to turn what we’re feeling during these scary and surreal times into powerful, lasting creative work — or it will be the moment we lost a generation of art and artists because we failed to support them when and how they most needed it. That’s why it is so urgent and essential to dig deep, even if it means making sacrifices, and act now to ensure that the world on the other side of the pandemic is one that’s full of art, storytelling, and vibrant, diverse perspectives.”

The initiative will provide immediate support for 100 Sundance Institute artists. Grants will be given to the 2020 spring and summer Lab participants to be used for artists’ emergency funds or for project development.

The program will also provide emergency financial support to U.S. artists through the new Artist Relief initiative that will distribute funds as quickly and efficiently as possible. Artists facing dire circumstances due to COVID-19 will be eligible for emergency grants of $5,000.

The initiative will also provide emergency financial support to independent artist organizations focusing on historically underrepresented communities. The final selection will be made by the Institute and a panel of outside advisors. Applications will be evaluated on organizational impact and artist community reach. The Sundance Institute is also creating a series of free public and private offerings for independent artists on its Sundance Co//ab community for global storytellers on its website.

“As so many people the world over are reimagining what it means to be connected to one another, this is an important moment to send a message to independent artists: You are not alone. You are part of a resilient community — a community that will continue to be a much-needed source of refuge, empathy, inspiration, and collective power in the days and weeks to come,” Sundance Institute leaders said.

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