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Sundance Institute | New Frontier Story Lab

The New Frontier Story Lab is open for submissions.


A bold spirit of innovation has emerged among artists as they seek to engage audiences with narrative worlds that leverage new technologies, visual aesthetics, social media cultures, immersive designs, game theory, transmedia activism and shifts in the boundaries of authorship. In just the last 10 years, the media landscape has been transformed and storytellers are both exploring as well as constructing this new terrain, pioneering new connections with audiences and re-structuring story design.

The Sundance Institute’s New Frontier program was created to identify and foster independent artists innovating in the art and form of storytelling at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology; to provide a place for audience to view and participate in their work; and to build a community of collaborators across diverse disciplines to push the boundaries of story.

The New Frontier program began in 2007 with the formation of an exhibition and programming space at the Sundance Film Festival. The dynamic work presented at New Frontier inspired the Sundance Institute to deepen its support of storytellers pioneering new mediums and methodologies by establishing the New Frontier Story Lab in 2011.

Is the New Frontier Story Lab open to anyone that wants to apply?

Yes, the application is open to anyone who wants to apply. This is a change from previous years that were by invitation only. For more information about this program, please visit our website.

What is the application process?

The application is a three step process. Applications will become available on July 1, 2015. You must submit your application online no later than 11:59 PST on August 17, 2015.

FIRST, complete the electronic application at

Sign in or create a new account to access the electronic application. Choose the New Frontier tab to access the Story Lab application. In the application form you will provide your contact info, brief bio(s), a synopsis of the project, and a short essay response about your artistic intentions.

PLEASE NOTE: The email address you provide when you create an account will be the only one mode of communication we will use to contact you between submission and the final decision. Therefore we recommend you insure that is cleared in your spam filter!

SECOND, upload additional materials:

  • A Story Design Document ?(PDF, 5 page limit) that provides a timeline, storyworld architecture, user experience/user interface, flow chart, wireframes or any other framework/asset that communicates your story design.
  • Optional: Any additional assets not included elsewhere via links or Story Design that are essential to the understanding/evaluation of the project (photos, videos, etc.).

THIRD, pay the $45 application fee.

Can I start an application and save it and come back to finish it later?

Yes. You will have a chance to save a work-in-progress version of your application before officially submitting.

Can I deliver my application in person, or via mail or email?

We accept all application materials electronically via the application submission system ONLY. Materials are disseminated to the selection committee electronically via the application system. Not only are projects not accepted in-person or via email, submitting via these methods would increase a project’s chances of loss or incorrect versions being considered in review. Contact us if you are having technical difficulty at

Then What?

You will hear back from us via email on or before March 11, 2016 letting you know if you have been selected for the New Frontier Story Lab. We will respond to every applicant, whether they are selected or not.

Here is the timeline for application review:

  • July 1 - Application opens
  • August 17 - Deadline for application submission
  • October 12 - Round Two Notifications
  • October 16 - Round Two Submissions Deadline
  • November 20 - Round Three Notifications
  • March 11 - Final Status Notifications
  • May 20-25 - LAB WEEK

Please note: Unfortunately, due to the amount of submissions, we cannot provide individual feedback.

Still have questions? Please visit our FAQ page: FAQ

If, after reading the FAQ above, you stil have questions, contact: