The Sundance Institute has partnered with Time Warner to create the Time Warner Storytelling Advancement Fund.
The planned four-year program will develop independent film and theater artists who participate in the institute’s core programs.
It will provide $5,000 grants to filmmaker Patricia Benoit and playwright Tracey Scott Wilson this year. Wilson and Benoit participated in this year’s editions of the institute’s Sundance Theater Lab and the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs, respectively.
The fund will also provide professional development and residency support for its fellows, along with ongoing investment in their work.
“When (Benoit) finishes her next draft of the script, we will have advisers — these are working screenwriters, established people — who will give her more guidance,” explained Michelle Satter, founding director of the Sundance Institute’s feature film program.
Satter said the goal of the fund is to provide “a year-round program of support” to selected artists participating in the Sundance Institute’s labs. “As she moves further along, we’ll help her find a producer for her project,” said Satter, adding that a number of Sundance’s partners have provided resources the fund will utilize, including a Panavision camera package and Kodak film.
There will be a new round of fellows each year and up to 20 over the four years of the program initially envisioned. The main criterion for fellows is that their work “uniquely positions and advances the concept of storytelling.”
Jonathan Demme produced Benoit’s 1996 documentary “Courage and Pain”; the filmmaker received her grant for her new scripted project “Haiti Cherie.” Wilson received her grant for “The Good Negro,” featured in the Public Theater’s “New Work Now” readings festival last October.
Time Warner provides corporate sponsorship to a number of New York theaters, including the Public.