Sundance Institute Archives

Since 1981, Sundance Institute has supported thousands of independent film and theatre artists with its artist development programs and its annual Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute Archives is dedicated to preserving and facilitating access to the work of these independent film and theatre artists and the material that documents their artistic processes in the creation of this work. Learn more or donate.
Directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard premiered 20,000 Days on Earth, starring Nick Cave, during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Editing and Directing Awards for World Cinema Documentary. While Forsyth and Pollard were new to the Festival this year, Cave starred in the 1992 Festival film Johnny Suede, alongside Brad Pitt, as well as the 1997 film Rhinoceros Hunting in Budapest.  Cave also wrote the screenplay and music for The Proposition, starring Guy Pearce, which premiered during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.20,000 Days on Earth is an innovative drama/documentary featuring Cave as both subject and coconspirator, intimately documenting his artistic process and combining it with a fictional staged narrative of his 20,000th day on Earth. As a result, the film also explores the creative spirit.This unique blend of documentary essay and cinematic fiction demonstrates the connection between Cave and the filmmakers, visual artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard; all three are illuminating the search for truth through artifice and myth. Ultimately, 20,000 Days on Earth reaches beyond Cave to ask all of us how many days we’ve been alive and what use we’ve made of that time.20,000 Days on Earth opens in select cities on Friday, September 19.Photos by Amelia Troubridge, Araya Diaz / WireImage, and Jeff Vespa / WireImage

Directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard premiered 20,000 Days on Earth, starring Nick Cave, during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Editing and Directing Awards for World Cinema Documentary.

While Forsyth and Pollard were new to the Festival this year, Cave starred in the 1992 Festival film Johnny Suede, alongside Brad Pitt, as well as the 1997 film Rhinoceros Hunting in Budapest.  Cave also wrote the screenplay and music for The Proposition, starring Guy Pearce, which premiered during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

20,000 Days on Earth is an innovative drama/documentary featuring Cave as both subject and coconspirator, intimately documenting his artistic process and combining it with a fictional staged narrative of his 20,000th day on Earth. As a result, the film also explores the creative spirit.

This unique blend of documentary essay and cinematic fiction demonstrates the connection between Cave and the filmmakers, visual artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard; all three are illuminating the search for truth through artifice and myth. Ultimately, 20,000 Days on Earth reaches beyond Cave to ask all of us how many days we’ve been alive and what use we’ve made of that time.


20,000 Days on Earth opens in select cities on Friday, September 19.

Photos by Amelia Troubridge, Araya Diaz / WireImage
, and Jeff Vespa / WireImage

Submissions are now open for the 2015 Theatre Lab held at the Sundance Resort in Utah.The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the centerpiece of the Theatre Program, is a three-week play development retreat designed to support the creation of new work by playwrights, directors, composers and librettists, and to provide a place where that work can be effectively mentored and challenged.“The space that defines the Sundance Institute Theatre Program is that precious wedge of time between ‘idea’ and ‘production’ when artists dream, leap into their discomfort, their unknown, and get closer to their vision.” —Philip Himberg, Artistic DirectorLab alumni and projects include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation, Denis O’Hare & Lisa Peterson’s An Iliad, Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge, Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Good Negro, Adam Guettel & Craig Lucas’ The Light in the Piazza, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s Fun Home, Stew’s Passing Strange, Byron Au Yong & Aaron Jafferis’ Stuck Elevator, Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik’s Spring Awakening, Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project, and Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife.Apply or read more about the Theatre Program here.Photos by Fred Hayes and Ashley Gilbertson

Submissions are now open for the 2015 Theatre Lab held at the Sundance Resort in Utah.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the centerpiece of the Theatre Program, is a three-week play development retreat designed to support the creation of new work by playwrights, directors, composers and librettists, and to provide a place where that work can be effectively mentored and challenged.

“The space that defines the Sundance Institute Theatre Program is that precious wedge of time between ‘idea’ and ‘production’ when artists dream, leap into their discomfort, their unknown, and get closer to their vision.” —Philip Himberg, Artistic Director

Lab alumni and projects include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation, Denis O’Hare & Lisa Peterson’s An Iliad, Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge, Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Good Negro, Adam Guettel & Craig Lucas’ The Light in the Piazza, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s Fun Home, Stew’s Passing Strange, Byron Au Yong & Aaron Jafferis’ Stuck Elevator, Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik’s Spring Awakening, Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project, and Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife.

Apply or read more about the Theatre Program here.

Photos by Fred Hayes and Ashley Gilbertson

Banker White attended Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab in 2013 with The Genius of Caring, an Alzheimer’s web-based project rooted in compassion, aimed at building a community of and for caregivers where dialogue flows freely about an otherwise isolating disease.  The site is currently in beta and will need a successful Kickstarter campaign to continue to tell the stories of caregivers from across the country.Checkout an interview with White, where he chats about the impetus for the project and his own intensely personal experiences with Alzheimer’s.Photos by Fred Hayes and Jonathan Hickerson

Banker White attended Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab in 2013 with The Genius of Caring, an Alzheimer’s web-based project rooted in compassion, aimed at building a community of and for caregivers where dialogue flows freely about an otherwise isolating disease.  The site is currently in beta and will need a successful Kickstarter campaign to continue to tell the stories of caregivers from across the country.

Checkout an interview with White, where he chats about the impetus for the project and his own intensely personal experiences with Alzheimer’s.

Photos by Fred Hayes and Jonathan Hickerson

Writer/director Craig Johnson’s Skeleton Twins was supported by the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab and Summit in 2009 before premiering during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.Craig Johnson’s second feature sensitively explores Maggie and Milo’s lives of quiet desperation with remarkable finesse. It unfolds a rich backstory through subtle interactions between its characters and finds the agility to be funny, melancholic, touching, and devastating within the space of a single scene. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader give astonishing, dramatic performances. Their connection to the characters and to each other is magical, emotional, and hilarious. Check out Johnson’s Meet the Artist interview from the Festival here.Skeleton Twins opens on Friday, September 12.Film still by Reed Morano

Writer/director Craig Johnson’s Skeleton Twins was supported by the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab and Summit in 2009 before premiering during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Craig Johnson’s second feature sensitively explores Maggie and Milo’s lives of quiet desperation with remarkable finesse. It unfolds a rich backstory through subtle interactions between its characters and finds the agility to be funny, melancholic, touching, and devastating within the space of a single scene. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader give astonishing, dramatic performances. Their connection to the characters and to each other is magical, emotional, and hilarious. 

Check out Johnson’s Meet the Artist interview from the Festival here.

Skeleton Twins opens on Friday, September 12.

Film still by Reed Morano

The story of the pitcher who threw a no-hitter while tripping on acid has become emblematic of professional baseball’s excess in the 1970s.  However, that pitcher, Dock Ellis, had a career and life that transcended one use of LSD. During a time when the insular world of baseball was clashing with the world outside, Ellis was widely known as one of the most unabashedly black baseball players ever. Nearly suspended for wearing curlers in his hair and refusing to apologize for or moderate his aggressive behavior, Ellis used drugs to hide his crippling fear of failure.No No: A Dockumentary provides the backstory to an outrageous anecdote by presenting the full life—warts and all—of a unique baseball player and human being. From Jackie Robinson to Donald Hall, Ron Howard, and others, Dock Ellis touched the lives of many people, as told in this surprising story of redemption.Director Jeffrey Radice premiered his documentary during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Check out an interview with Radice from the Festival here.No No: A Dockumentary opens in select cities September 5 and expands on September 12.Photo by Ron Mrowiec

The story of the pitcher who threw a no-hitter while tripping on acid has become emblematic of professional baseball’s excess in the 1970s.  However, that pitcher, Dock Ellis, had a career and life that transcended one use of LSD.

During a time when the insular world of baseball was clashing with the world outside, Ellis was widely known as one of the most unabashedly black baseball players ever. Nearly suspended for wearing curlers in his hair and refusing to apologize for or moderate his aggressive behavior, Ellis used drugs to hide his crippling fear of failure.

No No: A Dockumentary provides the backstory to an outrageous anecdote by presenting the full life—warts and all—of a unique baseball player and human being. From Jackie Robinson to Donald Hall, Ron Howard, and others, Dock Ellis touched the lives of many people, as told in this surprising story of redemption.

Director Jeffrey Radice premiered his documentary during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Check out an interview with Radice from the Festival here.

No No: A Dockumentary opens in select cities September 5 and expands on September 12.

Photo by Ron Mrowiec

First-time writer/director Stuart Murdoch premiered God Help the Girl during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance.In God Help the Girl, Murdoch creates a poignant coming-of-age story that doubles as an indie-pop musical. The project began as a suite of songs, written while Murdoch was between Belle and Sebastian records and tours. Over nearly 10 years, he nurtured the project into a fully formed film, set in Glasgow, where we meet Eve, Cass, and James adrift on the West End.God Help the Girl opens in select cities and Vimeo on demand, September 5.Photos by Neil Davidson and Colby D Crossland / WireImage

First-time writer/director Stuart Murdoch premiered God Help the Girl during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance.

In God Help the Girl, Murdoch creates a poignant coming-of-age story that doubles as an indie-pop musical. The project began as a suite of songs, written while Murdoch was between Belle and Sebastian records and tours. Over nearly 10 years, he nurtured the project into a fully formed film, set in Glasgow, where we meet Eve, Cass, and James adrift on the West End.


God Help the Girl opens in select cities and Vimeo on demand, September 5.

Photos by Neil Davidson and Colby D Crossland / WireImage

With Labor Day fast approaching, we’re reminded that millions of hardworking Americans, whether toiling away at jobs they resent, tolerate, or unabashedly love, deserve a day of rest.  If you’re feeling especially bad about your current line of work, surely the occupations featured in 5 Sundance Films That Prove Your Job Could Be Worse will bring some levity to the situation.Celebrate Labor Day with Kevin Smith’s 1994 Festival film Clerks, Chris Smith’s 1996 American Job, Tim Nackashi and David Sampliner’s 2004 Dirty Work, and Kyle Alvarez’s 2013 Festival film C.O.G.Film stills courtesy of Sundance Institute Archives

With Labor Day fast approaching, we’re reminded that millions of hardworking Americans, whether toiling away at jobs they resent, tolerate, or unabashedly love, deserve a day of rest.  If you’re feeling especially bad about your current line of work, surely the occupations featured in 5 Sundance Films That Prove Your Job Could Be Worse will bring some levity to the situation.

Celebrate Labor Day with Kevin Smith’s 1994 Festival film Clerks, Chris Smith’s 1996 American Job, Tim Nackashi and David Sampliner’s 2004 Dirty Work, and Kyle Alvarez’s 2013 Festival film C.O.G.

Film stills courtesy of Sundance Institute Archives

Director Thomas Allen Harris first attended the Festival in 2002 with his documentary That’s My Face and most recently returned to premiere Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.A rich and lyrical tapestry that is both personal and epic in scope, Thomas Allen Harris’s extraordinary documentary is a unique examination of the way black photographers—and their subjects—have used the camera as a tool for social change from the time photography was invented to the present.  Through a Lens Darkly is a powerful and elegant engagement with the burden of representation and serves as a testament to the redemptive powers of creativity.Through a Lens Darkly is part of a larger transmedia project that includes the website/traveling roadshow Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, which invites audiences to share and upload their own family photographs and participate in the creation of a national family archive that can form communities.You can catch Through a Lens Darkly at NYC’s Film Forum August 27 – September 9 and learn more about the Digital Diaspora Roadshow here.Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis

Director Thomas Allen Harris first attended the Festival in 2002 with his documentary That’s My Face and most recently returned to premiere Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

A rich and lyrical tapestry that is both personal and epic in scope, Thomas Allen Harris’s extraordinary documentary is a unique examination of the way black photographers—and their subjects—have used the camera as a tool for social change from the time photography was invented to the present.  Through a Lens Darkly is a powerful and elegant engagement with the burden of representation and serves as a testament to the redemptive powers of creativity.

Through a Lens Darkly is part of a larger transmedia project that includes the website/traveling roadshow Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, which invites audiences to share and upload their own family photographs and participate in the creation of a national family archive that can form communities.

You can catch Through a Lens Darkly at NYC’s Film Forum August 27 – September 9 and learn more about the Digital Diaspora Roadshow here.

Photo by 
Thomas Sayers Ellis

Over 13 years before premiering The One I Love, alongside Mark Duplass, director Charlie McDowell, and screenwriter Justin Lader during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Elisabeth Moss attended the Sundance Institute Directors Lab as an actor in 2001 (top photo).In acclaimed author Charlie McDowell’s highly original directorial debut, The One I Love, Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass deliver delightfully wry and engaging performances as a couple on the verge of dissolution. McDowell injects his distinct, comedic voice into this uncanny exploration of the human relationship—with welcomingly unpredictable results.

Check out an interview with Moss here where she discusses Mad Men, exploring intense relationships, and The One I Love.The One I Love opens in select cities on Friday, August 22 and expands on August 29. Photos by Doug Emmett and Jeff Vespa

Over 13 years before premiering The One I Love, alongside Mark Duplass, director Charlie McDowell, and screenwriter Justin Lader during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Elisabeth Moss attended the Sundance Institute Directors Lab as an actor in 2001 (top photo).

In acclaimed author Charlie McDowell’s highly original directorial debut, The One I Love, Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass deliver delightfully wry and engaging performances as a couple on the verge of dissolution. McDowell injects his distinct, comedic voice into this uncanny exploration of the human relationship—with welcomingly unpredictable results.

Check out an interview with Moss here where she discusses Mad Men, exploring intense relationships, and The One I Love.

The One I Love opens in select cities on Friday, August 22 and expands on August 29.

Photos by Doug Emmett and Jeff Vespa

Aubrey Plaza first attended the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 with Mystery Team.  She returned in 2014 for the premiere of Life After Beth and just last week screened the film during Sundance NEXT FEST.Imitating what Dr. Frankenstein did with his monster, writer/director Jeff Baena assembles disparate parts of his Life After Beth into a new whole and jolts fresh life into it. By fusing elements of a young love story and a zombie movie, he concocts a wickedly funny and shockingly poignant film. With its killer soundtrack and all-star cast, including Aubrey Plaza, whose distinctive delivery has never been used to greater effect, and Dane DeHaan, who perfectly embodies the suffering of a young man with a broken heart and a rotting girlfriend, Life After Beth will leave you dying to see it again.Learn more about the film and director, with an interview from the 2014 Festival here. Life After Beth opens in select cities and on DIRECTV August 15.Film still/photos by Greg Smith and Alberto E. Rodriguez

Aubrey Plaza first attended the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 with Mystery Team.  She returned in 2014 for the premiere of Life After Beth and just last week screened the film during Sundance NEXT FEST.

Imitating what Dr. Frankenstein did with his monster, writer/director Jeff Baena assembles disparate parts of his Life After Beth into a new whole and jolts fresh life into it. By fusing elements of a young love story and a zombie movie, he concocts a wickedly funny and shockingly poignant film. With its killer soundtrack and all-star cast, including Aubrey Plaza, whose distinctive delivery has never been used to greater effect, and Dane DeHaan, who perfectly embodies the suffering of a young man with a broken heart and a rotting girlfriend, Life After Beth will leave you dying to see it again.

Learn more about the film and director, with an interview from the 2014 Festival here

Life After Beth opens in select cities and on DIRECTV August 15.

Film still/photos by Greg Smith and Alberto E. Rodriguez