Sundance Institute Receives $4 Million Endowment Gift From Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria; Largest Endowment Gift in Nonprofit’s History Will Further Opportunities for Indigenous Talent From California Tribes
(June 14, 2023) Los Angeles, CA – Today the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced the largest endowment gift in its history, a $4 million dollar endowment to the Institute’s Indigenous Program from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR). The opportunities created through the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria | Sundance Institute Endowment will provide support for Indigenous artists from California-based tribes, both federally and non-federally recognized. The gift will allow Sundance Institute to expand the offerings already available to artists through the Indigenous Program, an integral component of the Institute’s work that officially began in 1994 and has been woven into the organization’s values since its inception in 1981, when Native American filmmakers were invited by founder Robert Redford to participate in the originating meetings of Sundance Institute and its first filmmaking lab.
The endowment gift was facilitated by FIGR Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris, who himself was a participant in Sundance Institute’s 1992 Screenwriters Lab. In the immediate future, the endowment will create a new fellowship for emerging and midcareer Indigenous artists with a project in development or production, providing critical financial and creative support. The Graton fellows will each receive a grant of $25,000, yearlong creative mentorship from Indigenous Program staff, access to creative and professional development opportunities, and support to attend the Sundance Film Festival. The gift will also support the creation of scholarships with Sundance Collab, Sundance Institute’s digital learning space for artists from around the world. Applications are open from now until August 28, 2023 for the first round of fellowships and scholarships to be distributed in 2024.
Sundance Institute has a rich history in supporting Indigenous storytellers who have made successful careers working in the film and television industry. Over the years, we have championed Sydney Freeland, Sterlin Harjo, Sky Hopinka, Blackhorse Lowe, Fox Maxy, Caroline Monnet, Shaandiin Tome, Erica Tremblay, Taika Waititi, and more. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria | Sundance Institute Endowment will help Sundance further grow this community.
Interested applicants must be affiliated with a tribe within the state of California and can learn more here.