Keri Putnam oversees all Sundance Institute programs, 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, cultivating relationships with foundations and corporate sponsors, and growing the Institute's annual operating budget.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Artistic Director, Theatre Program
Since 1997, Philip has guided all aspects of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, including the Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory. Under his aegis, the program has grown into providing year-round support for theatre artists in a variety of satellite venues, including an exchange in East Africa with artists of that region.
Himberg most recently coauthored and directed the world premieres of Maureen McGovern’s A Long and Winding Road (now titled Carry It On) at the Huntington Theatre in Boston and the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and upcoming at Geva Theatre in Rochester, New York, as well as the world premiere of Terrence McNally's Some Men. Himberg received his B.A. in Theatre Arts at Oberlin College. He was coartistic 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 on the Board of Directors at Theatre Communications Group. He teaches 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.
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.
Director, Documentary Film Program
Cara Mertes joined Sundance Institute in late 2006 and currently oversees the Documentary Film Program and Fund, as well as planning and implementing a range of strategic partnerships for Sundance Institute. The Fund currently grants $1 million per year to contemporary issue independent documentaries globally, and the Program runs three Creative Labs and provides documentary planning at the Creative Producing Summit and the Sundance Film Festival, among other activities. In that time, Mertes has created new partnerships with the Open Society Institute, Skoll Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Good Pitch -- Channel Four/Britdoc Foundation, the Arab Fund for Art, and Culture and Cinereach.
Prior to her work at Sundance, Mertes was executive producer of P.O.V. from 1999-2006, where she was recognized with eight News and Documentary Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. Three films she has executive produced have been nominated for Oscars, including Street Fight; My Country, My Country; and Nerakoon: Betrayal. She was the creator and executive producer of P.O.V.'s original online showcase P.O.V.'s "Borders," winning a Webby Award, Batten Journalism Award, On-Line Journalism, and Parent's Choice Award. She received her B.A. from Vassar College and completed her M.A. work at Hunter College. Born and raised in Kansas, she was a long-time New Yorker and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
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.
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.