2020 Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge

Sundance Institute and Adobe are teaming up to find the next 10 Sundance Ignite fellows. Submit a one- to fifteen-minute short that shows us your artistic vision and unique voice as a filmmaker.

Challenge is closed

Sundance Institute and Adobe are teaming up to find the next 10 Sundance Ignite Fellows—emerging filmmakers ages 18 to 25 who are creating stories that bring their passion, voice, and perspective to life. To choose this year's fellows, we're holding a short film challenge, asking filmmakers to submit a one- to fifteen-minute short that shows us their artistic vision and unique voice. Submissions aren't limited to any genre or topic—the only requirement is that they represent each filmmaker's perspective as an artist.

The Sundance Ignite program identifies and supports new voices and talent from the next generation of filmmakers by providing artistic and professional development to advance filmmakers to the next stage in their careers. The yearlong Sundance Ignite Fellowship is open to emerging documentary and narrative filmmakers. The fellowship begins with a weeklong lab in Los Angeles orienting filmmakers to the fellowship and year ahead. Throughout the year, filmmakers will:

  • Work with a Sundance Institute alumni mentor.
  • Attend the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Receive an artist grant supported by Southwest Airlines and Jason Michael Berman.
  • Be eligible for internships and program opportunities.
  • Receive a complimentary one-year Adobe Creative Cloud membership, where Creative Cloud is available.


  • One entry per person.
  • To enter the challenge, you must be between the ages of 18 and 25 as of March 17, 2020.
  • Films submitted must be under 15:00:00 minutes long (including credits), and all work must be completed between August 1, 2018 and March 31, 2020.
  • You can complete your submission by uploading it to this site, or by linking the to the film on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • The maximum file size you can upload is 5GB.
  • The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. PST.

Sundance Ignite is supported by Adobe; Arison Arts Foundation; The Birth of a Nation Fellowship, founded by the creative and producing teams of the film; Southwest Airlines; East West Bank; and Jason Michael Berman.

Join the Discussion

Rules and Regulations

The Ignite Short Film Challenge is open to filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 who join the Sundance Co//ab community. One entry per person.

All submissions will be viewable to the community.

Films must adhere to Sundance Co//ab’s code of conduct.

All submissions will be given equal consideration, the finalists and 10 fellows will be determined by the consensus of the designated Sundance Ignite judges.

Only those submissions that meet the criteria outlined in the challenge description can be selected as the winner.

All work submitted must be entirely your own; you cannot include film clips or music created by others without their written permission. If your film features people, you must obtain their consent.

Only one director per submission can be considered for the Ignite Fellowship. If two or more directors are identified for a single submission, priority will be given to the director who completed the submission. Films can only be submitted once.

Only the director of the film can submit and be considered for the fellowship.

All work must be completed between August 2018 and March 2020.

Any film not in English must include English subtitles.

Work re-submitted from previous editions of the Sundance Ignite Challenges on the Adobe Project 1324 platform will not be considered.

All work must be submitted online in digital video format.

Employees of Sundance Institute are not eligible to submit.

Sundance Institute is not responsible for any misdirected, improperly submitted, technically or artistically un-viewable, lost, incomplete, late, or damaged entries.

The challenge closes on March 31, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. PST.

Sundance Ignite

When will the selected fellows be announced?

Thank you for your patience. The Ignite Fellows will be announced by the end of July.

How old do I have to be to participate?

Participants must be between the ages of 18–25 as of April 6, 2021.

Is there a timeframe my work needs to be completed in?

All work must have been made within the last 12 months, as of April 6, 2021.

What video formats can I use?

You can submit your video by providing a link to the video on Vimeo or YouTube, or by uploading a copy of your video with your application form.

If you chose to upload a copy of your video, we accept .AVI, .FLV, .MOV, .MP4 or .MPEG-2 files. Note: If you choose to upload a .MOV file, make sure that it is not using the Apple ProRes compression. We do not support Apple ProRes files or raw camera formats like ARRI and RED at this time.

What is the video limit?

The maximum video time is 15:00:00, inclusive of credits.

If you are uploading your video the maximum file size you can upload is 4.9 GB.

Can I submit a film that I created with a crew?

Yes; however, you must be the film’s director to be eligible for the Sundance Ignite Fellowship.

What if we have co-directors—can more than one director be considered?

Only one director per submission can be considered for the Ignite Fellowship. If two or more directors are identified, the director that completed the 

submission will be eligible and considered for the Fellowship. Additionally, a project cannot be submitted multiple times with a different director attached.

Can I resubmit the same film as last year?

No, please submit new content. All work must have been made within the last 12 months, as of April 6, 2021.

Can I submit multiple projects to the Sundance Ignite Challenge?

No, you can only submit one project to the challenge.

Do I need to include subtitles if my film is not in English?

Yes. If your film is not in English, you must include English subtitles.

What genres will you consider?

We consider all film genres.

Will you accept VR or mixed-media work?

At this time, we are unable to accept VR and AR work.

What happens to my work?

After your work is fully processed and uploaded to the challenge, you can adjust the settings for all your projects in your profile settings. If you’d like to delete your work, it will be fully discarded from our servers. You can choose your cover image, tags, titles, and descriptions during the upload process before sharing your live projects via social media. If you delete your work prior to the winners being announced, your application will no longer be under consideration, and you will not be able to resubmit.

Can I change my submission?

Once an application is submitted, only public-facing details (title, description, thumbnail, and the option to have your film private or publicly viewable) may be edited. For further questions, please reach out to ignite@sundance.org.

If I submitted a YouTube or Vimeo link, can I updated the file associated with the link?

Your link cannot be changed once submitted, so please make sure you submit a final link. If the file associated with the link is changed after your application is submitted, your submission may have already been reviewed, therefore we can not guarantee that the newer version will be viewed.

Can I make my submission private on the Sundance Collab website?

Yes, if you are concerned about your film being publicly viewable online, there is the option in Step 5 of the application to make your film private on the website. This option is also available after you submit your film by clicking the Edit This Submission button on your submission page.

Selecting the option to set your film to private will disable playback of your video on the website, but your video's title, description, and thumbnail image will remain visible. This will not affect your eligibility or how your submission is viewed and judged by our selection committee.

I have more questions that aren’t answered here—who can I contact?

Please direct your questions to ignite@sundance.org.