Documentary Sustainability Project

In March 2020, the Arts Endowment launched a national initiative in partnership with the Sundance Institute, as an extension of conversations held at the Documentary Sustainability Summit on the topic of the need for more equitable transactions and career sustainability for independent nonfiction filmmakers. This new collaborative initiative aims to create a sustainable infrastructure that will strengthen the documentary filmmaking field through knowledge exchange, cross-sector collaboration, and research.

Activities will:

  • Consistently engage in dialogue with about challenges, opportunities, and new developments in the independent filmmaking field at large
  • Provide a forum for knowledge exchange between local, regional, and national stakeholders about filmmaker-friendly policies, best practices, and strategies
  • Strengthen cross-sector collaborations by bringing together academics, researchers, and practitioners through the establishment of a research working group.
  • Uplift related educational content, including toolkits, case studies, articles, reports, and other materials through Co//ab: SUSTAIN, a curated online resource portal


  • If you are supporting local filmmaking communities and engaging in regional strategies, we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at
  • Download the Independent Film and Media Field Briefing (2022) to educate local and national policymakers and decisionmakers about the challenges and opportunities related to the U.S. infrastructure serving independent filmmakers and media artists. decisionmakers!
  • Check back soon for updates!