Legal Essentials for Screenwriters, Directors & Producers

Are you a filmmaker hoping to get a better understanding of some of the legal and business terms that come up in the filmmaking process? Are you concerned about rights? Or, how to set up your company? In this eight-week live online course for both fiction and documentary filmmakers, you will learn the basics of intellectual property, contract terms, corporate structure, and more. A Sundance Advisor will review homework designed to support you with the critical tools needed to navigate the business.

What you bring to the course:

  • an interest in learning the important legal elements involved in a career in fiction or documentary filmmaking. Producers, directors and screenwriters at any level of experience are welcome to apply.

What you’ll get from the course:

  • An overview of the legal elements all filmmakers should understand.
  • An understanding of the various areas of intellectual property.
  • Considerations for setting up your company and approaching potential funders.
  • An overview of key contracts.
  • Various approaches to licensing.
  • A review of fair use.
  • The key components of a distribution agreement and other distribution basics.

This course will:

  • offer opportunities for designated homework to be reviewed by a Sundance Advisor.
  • connect you with other creators via a discussion board where you can discuss core concepts and share your work.
  • assign mock scenarios for you to work through.
  • conclude with a one-on-one mentoring session with your advisor.

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants per session, with a participant to advisor ratio of 12-to-1.

Space is limited. Applications for this course are considered as they are received and applicants are accepted on a rolling basis until the course is full or the deadline has passed, whichever comes first.

Sundance Collab 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.