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Curated Film Financing

Catalyst is Sundance Institute’s film financing program. We aim to build a culture of partnership between independent investors and filmmakers, to unlock funding for ambitious new independent films, and to grow the community of indie-film supporters.


Our program serves both new and seasoned investors who are interested in supporting independent films. Filmmakers selected for the Catalyst program receive tailored guidance to develop financing plans, build investor relationships, and effectively present projects for independent financing.

Application Criteria

At the time of application, projects must meet the following eligibility requirements and criteria:

Team Requirements

  • Projects must have a director attached and provide at least one directing sample.
  • Projects must have a strong lead producer attached with at least one feature Producer credit.
  • Projects with at least one member of the above-the-line team who is a Sundance Institute alumni are given strong preference.

Budget/Financing Plan Requirements

  • Project budgets must not exceed $3,000,000 USD.
  • Projects must be open to equity investments and/or granting contributions from multiple individual investors.
  • Projects with partial financing in place are encouraged to apply.
  • Catalyst investors must sit pari passu with other investors on the film.
  • Projects must have an itemized budget and a clearly outlined financing plan.
  • Projects must have structures in place to accept funding by the time of Catalyst Forum.

Legal Requirements

  • Teams must provide filmmaker agreements and chain of title documents prior to acceptance into the Catalyst program.
  • Invited projects must have legal representation by the time of Catalyst Forum.

Project Requirements

  • Open to feature-length films only, with an intended running time of 60 minutes or more.
  • Fiction: Priority given to projects with a script in advanced development.
  • Nonfiction: Projects must have sample footage to share at the time of submission.

Additional Considerations

  • Feasibility and financial viability are assessed.
  • Projects must feature compelling, original subject matter and a distinctive directorial vision.
  • International projects and/or co-productions are welcome.
  • Resubmissions are permitted on a case-by-case basis if a major element has changed.
  • Multiple submissions from the same team are discouraged.
Substantial Investment


Catalyst offers a unique opportunity for both new and experienced film funders through educational and cultural programming, highly curated financing opportunities, and ongoing engagement with the Sundance community. We guide new investors into film financing and provide comprehensive support to our cohort with filmmaker and industry talks, social events, personalized support, and access to exceptional projects.


Catalyst by Sundance Institute bridges the gap between independent filmmakers and investors, fostering a supportive community to finance and promote ambitious indie films. Our year-round programming and the signature Catalyst Forum provide a comprehensive platform for education, networking, and financing.

Here are tips to maximize your engagement with Catalyst:

  • Clearly articulate your project's vision and unique qualities in your proposal.
  • Prepare a realistic and detailed budget and financing plan.
  • Showcase your previous work to demonstrate your capability and style.
  • Engage actively in all educational and networking opportunities provided by Catalyst.
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with potential investors and collaborators.

The key to success with Catalyst is a compelling project, a well-prepared submission, and active engagement in the program’s opportunities.

How to Apply

See Opening Dates and Deadlines, Detailed Project Requirements, Submission Process and Selection Criteria. Click to Apply.

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