Leadership

Keri Putnam
Executive Director

Keri Putnam oversees all programs of the global nonprofit Sundance Institute, including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Film Festival, Film Music Program, Theatre Program, and Native American and Indigenous Program. She is also responsible for expanding the Institute's international work, initiating strategic partnerships, and growing the Institute's annual operating budget. In addition, Putnam leads Institute initiatives to provide independent filmmakers with access to digital distribution through the Artist Services program and to identify and lessen roadblocks for women in the independent sector via the Women Filmmakers Initiative.

Before joining Sundance Institute, Putnam served as president of production for Miramax Films, the Walt Disney Company's specialty film division. Prior to joining Miramax, Putnam was executive vice president, HBO Films, responsible for the development and production of films for both the cable network and for theatrical release.

A graduate of Harvard, Putnam studied theatre and began her career working for Williamstown Theater Festival, McCarter Theater, Arena Stage, the ART, and others. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Sarah Pearce
Co-Managing Director, Operations & Utah Community Relations

Sarah Pearce has supervised and led Festival operations for more than 13 years. For two years she served on the Motion Picture Advisory Committee for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for the State of Utah and currently serves on the Park City Chamber Board. She has also been a consultant to CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas, the Dubai International Film Festival and the Sundance Preserve.

Laurie Hopkins
Co-Managing Director, Administration

Laurie Hopkins joined Sundance Institute in 2006 and was recently Director of Budgeting and Administration, where she oversaw the Institute’s annual operating budget, as well as foundation and government grant analysis. She has 15 years of experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors, having worked for Powdr Corporation, First Security Corporation in Salt Lake City, and the Office of Policy and Analysis, FCA, in Washington, D.C. Hopkins is Treasurer of the Summit County Public Arts Advisory Board and is a former Grand County Travel Council chair.

John Cooper
Director, Sundance Film Festival

John Cooper has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and assumed the role of Festival Director in April of 2009 after serving as the Sundance Film Festival's Director of Programming since 2003.

His early work in theater, ranging from performance to design, took him to New York City. By chance, he volunteered at the Institute's Summer Labs in 1989 and fell in love with the process and energy of Sundance. He returned to California to become part of the Festival programming team, which at that time consisted of two people. In the Festival's early years, Cooper created the short film program and quickly transitioned into programming documentaries and feature films.

In recent years, he took the lead in developing the Institute's online presence, which has garnered two Webby Awards. As Festival Director, he oversees creative direction of the Festival and has final decision on all films and events.

Other work includes guest curator or juror at major film festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 Cooper served as Programming Director of Outfest, a Los Angeles festival held annually in July, and until 2002 served on the Outfest Board of Directors.

Jennifer Arceneaux
Director, External Relations

Jennifer Arceneaux oversees the Institute’s development, marketing, and public relations departments and directs the strategic alignment of Sundance Institute’s external relations efforts. She reports directly to Executive Director Keri Putnam and also works closely with the Institute’s Leadership and Board of Trustees.

Arceneaux previously served as Director of Development for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). During her seven-year tenure at MOCA, Arceneaux cultivated philanthropic relationships and fostered the careers of artists and curators in the Los Angeles art community. Arceneaux also launched the successful MOCA NOW communications and development campaign to increase grassroots engagement in fundraising and create transparent communication with MOCA members and patrons. The campaign evolved into the MOCA NEW initiative raising more than $70 million in operating and endowment support. Prior to joining MOCA, Arceneaux served as Director of Development at the Accelerated School in Los Angeles where she executed a $60 million capital campaign for a new campus and community center. Her professional experience spans over ten years working with non-profits and community-based arts organizations including RAND Corporation, Inner-City Arts, CityLife, A.R.T.S. Inc., The Housing Rights Center and more recently in a board and advisory capacity with the Watts House Project, and LAXART.

She holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California School of Policy Planning and Development

Philip Himberg
Artistic Director, Theatre Program

Since 1997, Philip has guided all aspects of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, including the Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory, and satellite residency programs in Massachusetts, Wyoming and Florida. Under his aegis, the program has grown into providing year-round support for theatre artists in a variety of settings, including an exchange in East Africa with artists of that region.

Himberg’s most recent play, Paper Dolls, had its world premiere at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2013. He is co-author and director of Carry It On, a solo play for singer and actor Maureen McGovern, which played at Two Rivers Theatre, Red Bank NJ, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, Arena Stage, Washington DC and Geva Theatre in Rochester, New York. Other directing credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally's Some Men at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Elegies by William Finn at the Canon Theatre, LA, and Flora The Red Menace Reprise in LA.

Himberg received his B.A. in Theatre Arts at Oberlin College. He was co-artistic director of Playwrights Horizons in New York during the theatre’s most formative years. He is a recipient of a TCG/NEA Artistic Directors Fellowship, which brought him to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Himberg currently serves as President of the Board of Directors at Theatre Communications Group. He has taught at the Tisch School at NYU and is a visiting consultant at the Yale Drama School. Himberg is a published essayist (“Family Albums” in Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys) and licensed as a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. He lives in New York and is the father of Fanny Rose Ballantine-Himberg.

Peter Golub
Director, Film Music Program

Peter Golub has directed the Sundance Film Music Program since 1999. Under his leadership the Program has held two annual Labs at the Sundance Resort where composers work on their own under the mentorship of leading film composers and also in collaboration both with Fellows from the Sundance Feature Film and Documentary Programs.

Golub's own recent film scores include: Countdown to Zero (Participant Films); Frozen River (nominated for two Academy Awards); The Great Debaters (co-composed with James Newton Howard); Outrage; I.O.U.S.A.; and Wordplay, among many more.

Golub, also a pianist, received a Doctorate in Composition from the Yale School of Music. His numerous concert works have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He has also been active as a composer for the theatre. Golub serves on the Board of the American Music Center.

N. Bird Runningwater
Director, Native American and Indigenous Program

Born of the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples, Runningwater was reared on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. He has overseen the Native Lab of the Institute which has launched projects such as Four Sheets to the Wind, Sikumi, Miss Navajo, Shímásání, and Drunktown’s Finest. Runningwater has also established filmmaker Labs in New Zealand and Australia, which have spawned such projects as The Strength Of Water (New Zealand), Samson And Delilah (Australia), and Bran Nue Dae (Australia).

Before joining Sundance Institute, Runningwater served as executive director of the Fund of the Four Directions, the private philanthropy organization of a Rockefeller family member. He served as program associate in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts, and Culture Program, where he built and managed domestic and global funding initiatives. Runningwater currently serves as a patron to the imagineNative Indigenous Film Festival in Toronto.

Currently based in Los Angeles, he is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in Journalism and Native American Studies, and he received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Michelle Satter
Director, Feature Film Program

Michelle Satter is the founding director of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, which was the inaugural program of the Institute. As the Feature Film Program director, she has provided year-round and in-depth support to groundbreaking and award-winning filmmakers from the U.S. and around the world. She also spearheaded the Institute's international work in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East as well as the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award celebrating 100 years of cinematic history.

In 1989, Satter coproduced the Academy Award-nominated documentary Waldo Salt: A Screenwriters Journey. She is currently one of the producers on the film adaptation of Isabel Allende’s international bestseller Eva Luna. Prior to Sundance Institute, Satter lived in Boston and was director of public relations/marketing at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art and a partner and program director of ArtiCulture, Inc., where she produced hundreds of performing arts events throughout the Boston area. She has served on the Boards of the Independent Feature Project, MAISHA, and Equinoxe. Most recently, Satter was recognized with the Women in Film Business Leadership Award and the ACLU Bill of Rights Award.

Tabitha Jackson
Director, Documentary Film Program

With over 20 years experience in the field, Tabitha Jackson is an award-winning commissioning editor and producer of documentary and non-fiction work. Jackson brings to her new role extensive experience in producing nonfiction work for multiple platforms, arts advocacy and outreach, building creative partnerships and team management.

Jackson recently served as Commissioning Editor, Arts, Channel 4 Television based in London, where she supported and championed the independent and alternative voice, and sought to find fresh and innovative ways of storytelling.   Prior to this role,  Jackson held the position of Editor, More 4 at Channel 4  where she ran the day-to-day operations for the  UK’s sixth largest digital channel including running the two key areas of original programming  True Stories and More 4 Arts.

While at Channel 4, commissions included: Mark Cousins’ magisterial 15 part series "The Story of Film", Clio Barnard’s formally innovative verbatim cinema doc "The Arbor", Bart Layton’s documentary "The Imposter", and the forthcoming Nick Cave film, "20,000 Days on Earth".

Jackson’s commissions have been recognized with numerous awards including BAFTA Awards for The Imposter and Chosen, and Academy Award nominations for Burma VJ and Which Way Home.  She has also received awards for her own work including a News and Documentary Emmy for Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge and the Royal Television Society Award and UNESCO Gold Award for Motherland – A Genetic Journey.

Prior to joining Channel 4, Jackson worked as an independent producer making films in both the UK and US about identity, social justice and history.