Mar 18 - May 9
Doc Filmmaking: Developing Your Story
Registration is now closed for this session.
June V Cross

Course applications are now closed. APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, February 18 at 2pm PT.

Acceptances start after the deadline, and occur on a rolling basis.

Learn the steps for developing a feature documentary--from conception and prep through production--with accomplished documentary filmmakers as your guides. In this live, online course, you will develop a compelling proposal for funders of your project.

In class sessions, you will analyze clips from multiple documentary approaches, complete interactive exercises, discuss core concepts, and hear from a panel of documentary funders who will share their insights and answer your questions. Weekly homework, reviewed by your course advisor, is designed to move your project through to a polished draft of a funding proposal. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session with your advisor focused on your project. 

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Differentiate between a topic or issue and a story.
  • Identify ethical issues in documentary filmmaking. 
  • Discover ways to access and cast your characters.
  • Review and practice interview techniques.
  • Learn techniques for achieving your aesthetic goals.
  • Create a project timeline and production budget.
  • Learn ways to prepare for the unexpected while in the field.
  • Develop your outreach and engagement strategies for post-production.

This course is ideal for:

  • Storytellers with an idea for a feature-length documentary, looking for an educational setting and guidance from experienced filmmakers and the support of a community.
  • Documentary filmmakers moving from short-form to their first feature-length project.

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants per session, with a participant to advisor ratio of 12 to one. To apply, you must be prepared to work with a documentary project you plan to produce and/or direct.


The course will be held live in our virtual classroom. All sessions are recorded for registered participants who are unable to attend live.

Sundance Co//ab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at to arrange for services. 

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, March 18 - May 9
  • SCHEDULE: Thursdays, 10am - 12pm PT
    • Extended first class session: Thursday, March 18, 10am - 1pm PT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between May 3-9
June Cross, a native New Yorker, is a writer and documentary producer interested in the intersection of poverty, race and politics in the United States. She is currently working on a documentary about the impact of COVID19 on the 2020 Election. She is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she founded a program in journalistic documentary. more...
Julie Bridgham is an award-winning director and producer whose work has focused on social justice issues ranging from civil wars, big oil, civil rights, climate change, and immigration through the lense of the human experience. She is a former Sundance and IFP Fellow and the recipient of the Nestor Almendros award for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking. more...
Kavery Kaul is an award-winning filmmaker whose works have been featured at DOC NYC, Telluride, London, Rotterdam, and Sydney Festivals; in countries including India, Japan, Burkina Faso, Dubai, and Italy; at the Kennedy Center (DC), National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Cleveland Museum, and High Museum (Atlanta). more...
Elizabeth Mirzaei is a director and cinematographer of nonfiction films. Her first feature documentary, LAILA AT THE BRIDGE, screened and won awards at dozens of festivals, including Locarno, CPH:DOX, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Santa Barbara. more...

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