×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A&E, Sundance Institute Partner on Documentary Film Grants (EXCLUSIVE)

The Sundance Institute and A&E are partnering on a new series of grants that will help documentary filmmakers develop their projects. Dubbed the “Brave Storytellers Award,” the program will give four directors $25,000 in seed funding, as well as mentorship from the staff of the Institute. The idea is to help them shape their documentaries at the earliest stages of their production. 

“We want to develop the bench of documentary filmmakers,” said Molly Thompson,  the founder and head of A&E IndieFilms. “These are basically fire-starter grants. They let people come in with an idea, and gives them a chance to shoot for a few days and see if they have enough to make a film.”

A&E IndieFilms is the feature documentary division of A&E Network. The channel has been very active in the space in recent years, fielding such acclaimed films as “City of Ghosts,” “Cartel Land,” “The Imposter,” and “Life Animated.” This year the division debuted “Studio 54,” Matt Tyrnauer’s comprehensive look at the disco mecca, at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received sterling reviews. The company often partners with indie studios such as Magnolia, Sony Pictures Classics, or The Orchard to release their films theatrically. “Studio 54” is looking for theatrical distribution.

The Sundance Institute not only presents the Utah-based film festival of the same name, but it also nurtures rising directors and screenwriters by pairing them with established directors, editors, cinematographers and actors who serve as creative advisers.

Rob Sharenow, president of programming at A&E Networks, praised Thompson’s work in building the division into a premiere boutique label, calling it “the mouse that roared” when it comes to releasing documentaries. He said that ideally the grant will identify filmmakers who can join the fold.

“The dream is to discover new voices,” said Sharenow. “It gives us the opportunity to stay involved in some of these projects. Sometimes we will and sometimes we won’t.”

More Film

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content