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Sundance Institute launches $1M COVID-19 relief fund for indie filmmakers, orgs

Sundance Institute has launched a US$1 million emergency relief fund to support the “immediate needs” of independent artists and organizations. A third of the fund will support Sundance Institute-curated artists, while ...
April 17, 2020

Sundance Institute has launched a US$1 million emergency relief fund to support the “immediate needs” of independent artists and organizations.

A third of the fund will support Sundance Institute-curated artists, while two-thirds will be dedicated to emergency support for the wider community of independent artists, deployed in collaboration with partner non-profit organizations.

Immediate support will be provided to 100 Sundance Institute-curated artists, across disciplines and at all stages of development. Grants will be given to the 2020 spring and summer Lab participants to be used for artists’ emergency funds or for project development.

Each of these artists will also receive creative and strategic support through Sundance Institute’s Lab programs, which have transitioned from in-person gatherings to events hosted on the organization’s digital platform, Sundance Co//ab.

The fund will also provide emergency financial support to artists across the U.S.

Sundance has joined a group of arts organizations and national grantmakers who have partnered to launch a cross-disciplinary, needs-based fund called Artist Relief that will distribute funds to artists “as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

As part of the partnership with Artist Relief, the institute will provide its “experience and support” to film, media and theater artists facing “dire circumstances” due to COVID-19 with emergency grants of $5,000.

Emergency financial support will also be available to U.S. and international independent artist organizations focusing on historically underrepresented communities, to be deployed by these organizations both as regrants to artists and to strengthen the organizations themselves in their ongoing work.

The institute’s peer organizations, funders and artists will nominate organizations who will then be invited to apply. 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, Sundance stated.

In addition to financial resources, Sundance said it has identified “urgent” needs for support and training on topics such as mental health, community building and distribution and marketing strategy.

The organization is creating a series of free public and private offerings for independent artists on Sundance Co//ab.

In a release, Sundance’s┬áKeri Putnam (pictured), Michelle Satter, and Tabitha Jackson┬ástated: “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.”

Satter is the founding director of the Sundance Institute feature film program, while Jackson is the director of the Sundance Film Festival. Putnam is executive director of Sundance Institute.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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