The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Oct 20, 2014

Sundance expands to more #KnightCities

Posted by Nate von Zumwalt

2014 New Frontier Flash Lab, Miami. Photo by Michael Toledo. 

Nate von Zumwalt is editorial manager for Sundance Institute

Discovering and supporting independent artists is what Sundance Institute is all about. We believe that providing an inclusive space for artists to create and thrive encourages diverse stories and greater understanding.  In 2013, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation joined us in support of this goal by helping Sundance Institute reach into two new communities, Philadelphia and Miami, in search of new voices, new perspectives, and new stories to be told.

Now Knight Foundation is expanding its support with a new $1 million investment. The Knight Fellows Project will provide filmmakers and related artists in eight U.S. cities with local programs modeled on the Institute’s renowned residential Labs and successful one-day workshops for emerging filmmakers.

Over the next three years, storytellers from Akron, Charlotte, Detroit, Macon, Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose, and St. Paul will have access to creative and tactical training from esteemed Sundance Alumni and Advisors.  Programs will include ShortsLabs, New Frontier Flash Labs and Screenwriters Intensives, as well as immersive workshops on documentary storytelling, film music, and creative marketing and distribution.

As Knight Foundation's Arts VP Dennis Scholl said, “Over the last few years, independent filmmakers in these communities have begun to use film to tell unique and compelling stories about their cities that resound with audiences around the globe. By bringing Sundance Institute to these eight cities, we hope that emerging filmmakers will have access to the training necessary to launch their films and, eventually, a wider audience.”

In addition, four artists from these cities will be invited to attend the Sundance Film Festival as Knight Fellows.  Together with the 2014 Knight Fellows -- Jos Duncan, Monica Peña, Julian Yuri Rodriguez, and Heidi Saman -- these talented storytellers will join the dynamic community of independent artists and audiences that we are so proud to serve – across the United States and around the world.

An ArtistServices workshop on Saturday, Oct. 25, at O Cinema in Miami, will be the first event of the series.  Industry experts will lead discussions on the latest technology, tools and tactics in creative financing, digital distribution, guerilla marketing and independent theatrical distribution.  Participation is free and RSVP required at Workshops will take place in the other communities beginning in 2015. Below is a preliminary schedule.


ShortsLab Miami     March   

ShortsLab St. Paul     April

Screenwriters/Directors Intensive: Miami  April/May   

New Frontier Flash Lab: Detroit   June  

Documentary Workshop: St. Paul   Summer  

Artist Services Workshop: Philadelphia   Fall  

Screenwriters/Directors Intensive: Detroit  October



ShortsLab Charlotte     March   

ShortsLab Akron     April   

ComposersLab: Miami     April/May 

Shorts Program Macon     May   

New Frontier Flash Lab: San Jose   July    

Native Program Workshop: St. Paul   August 

Documentary Workshop: Philadelphia   September/October 



Artist Services Workshop: St. Paul   Spring

ShortsLab San Jose     March   

ShortsLab Philadelphia     April   

Screenwriters/Directors Intensive: Charlotte  April/May   

ComposersLab: Detroit or Philadelphia   April/May 

ShortsLab Detroit     May   

New Frontier Flash Lab: Philadelphia   July    


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