Sundance Co//ab, the platform that advances Sundance Institute’s mission to discover, support, and inspire independent artists has exited beta, with a thriving base of dedicated users and expanding offerings of courses, classes, challenges, and other offerings. Those interested are invited to join for free, as guests, and explore the extensive collection of content crafted and curated for creators and filmmakers, participate in the platform’s public forums and programs, and enter the platform’s online monthly Challenge.
The platform aims to inspire independent artists by creating a digital community that amplifies creative voices, wherever they are in the world, at whatever stage they are in their career. Sundance Co//ab offers complimentary educational videos, webinars and curated resources, as well as deeper, interactive learning and individual project feedback for a modest subscription fee.
The launch expands Sundance Institute’s artist-centered programs beyond highly selective residential Labs and marks the latest step in the Institute’s evolution to advance global voices that have stories to tell, and who are serious about deepening their skills. Co//ab elevates communities that have been historically underrepresented in the mainstream by extending the proven success of the Sundance Labs model for artists to develop projects and build community among independent storytellers and across systemic barriers.
A space for artists to share their work
Two critical factors that determine any aspiring creator’s success are constructive feedback and a reliable place to learn the crafts of writing, directing and producing. These tools are key for Sundance Co//ab’s rapidly-growing membership, already 20,000 strong and reaching 189 countries. The platform offers a broad array of interactive online courses ranging from three-hour intensives to eight-week deep dives with creative and industry professionals who engage with students and give valuable feedback on their work. Subscribers are also invited to share their work and receive comments and evaluations from their peers and Sundance advisors. To promote inclusion and affordability on a global scale, Co//ab offers need-based scholarships to 20% of all participants.
Receiving feedback on the internet can be sensitive for aspiring artists, and Sundance Co//ab’s social contract promises a safe, supportive environment strictly maintained by community managers. For those who prefer to begin learning independently, the platform offers a free curated video library with self-paced learning pathways in English, Spanish and Arabic. In the next year, these pathways will expand into French and Portuguese, with additional languages to follow based on audience needs.
“Co//ab is a safe and generous space for artists to share their work, get feedback and become better storytellers,” said Michelle Satter, Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program; Vision and Content Lead, Sundance Co//ab. “We believe that storytellers have the power to describe, shape and imagine the world they want to live in; Co//ab gives them the tools, inspiration and community for their creative expression across all forms.”
Students at a refugee camp
Though new to the market, Sundance Co//ab has already created tangible, career-altering results for aspiring independent filmmakers and strengthened underrepresented voices in the industry. Open monthly challenges enable anyone in the community to get their work recognized by the community, and a number of challenge-winners have gone on to succeed elsewhere, including gaining acceptance to Sundance’s selective programs and getting projects into production.
Sundance Co//ab is a space for reaching new communities and collaborating with partners: 20 Syrian refugees living at Jordan’s Azraq Refugee Camp are utilizing a hybrid version of Sundance Co//ab as a way of engaging with the art and craft of filmmaking. Under the guidance of 16 Instructors, Advisors and Mentors, and in collaboration with C.A.R.E, eager students have written six short fiction scripts, which they will produce, direct and edit by end of December.
“By offering a variety of interactive programs, Sundance Co//ab empowers global storytellers to participate in the rich conversations that normally take place in closed networks,” said Tara Hein-Phillips, Sundance Institute’s Chief Product Officer. “Our community is inclusive to artists who, without Co//ab, may have never been part of these conversations.”
Looking ahead, Sundance Co//ab plans to empower creatives in every country across the world and further Sundance Institute’s mission to champion independent storytelling. The platform will continue expanding to support and amplify more independent and emerging voices, wherever they are.