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The Non-Fiction Core Application Project

The Non-Fiction Core Application is a collaborative effort by grantors who regularly fund documentary projects to standardize application requirements, with the aim of fostering greater access and a more equitable and sustainable documentary field. 

The Non-Fiction Core Application Logo: a green circle with a white check mark in the middle

The Non-Fiction Core Application (v.2022) is a collaborative field-wide effort by funders, producers, fiscal sponsors, artist collectives and artist support organizations to standardize a set of questions that are used in non-fiction funding, fiscal sponsor or artist support opportunities. Led by Sundance Institute, in partnership with the IDA, the goal of Non-fiction Core Application Proposal Checklist Initiative to alleviate the burden of proposal re-writing on applicants, foster greater access to sources of creative and financial support and build toward a more equitable and transparent nonfiction field. 


The Non-Fiction Core Application project started six years ago in 2016, when we joined forces with the International Documentary Association (IDA) to respond to the challenges and frustrations that filmmakers expressed with applying for grants in the field. The lack of consistency in the questions that were being asked across grant applications created inefficiencies and burdened filmmakers with application rewrites to meet funders’ specific needs. 

In 2021, we re-engaged the field to revise the Core Application Proposal Checklist to ensure that the questions asked reflect the culture shifts, market forces and collective movements that we are currently living through. Hosting field wide conversations with over 150 community members participating, we took a collaborative approach to the revisions, soliciting feedback, inviting conversation and discussion. You can read more about the process and the changes here.

We are thrilled to launch the Nonfiction Core Application Proposal Checklist (v 2022) in both English and Spanish. In the coming months we will be building out a section of resources for applicants and funders, if you would like to be part of this process please contact Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Director of Artist Accelerator Program at Sundance Institute.

Core Proposal Checklist | english

core proposal checklist | spanish 

The following organizations and grantors are currently using the Non-Fiction Core App: