Patron Circle Newsletter


Sarah Pearce
Co-Managing Director
Sundance Institute

In preparation for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, I want to update you on ticket, pass and package prices for the upcoming year. Patron Circle members are our most valued Festival attendees and we want to make sure you are among the first to hear about these changes and, most importantly, know the reason behind them.

Each year, it becomes more and more costly to put on the Festival. In order to best serve our filmmakers and audiences we need to continually invest in cutting-edge technology, venues to fit our unique needs and resources for our artists. Due to these rising costs, we’ve adjusted some of our pricing options for the first time in several years. Among other things, the price adjustment will help fund the free screenings, events and educational outreach initiatives we host in Utah year-round – which last year reached an estimated 8,000 people. 

We are committed to keeping the Festival accessible for all audiences so we have carefully weighed the decision to increase prices. Here’s the good news: as a valued supporter, you have the opportunity to enjoy to last year’s pass and package prices if you renew your Patron Circle membership before August 31st. Click here to renew now and lock in last year’s prices. Jamie will be in touch soon with detailed information about these changes. Thank you for your continued support of Sundance Institute. We look forward to seeing you in January for what is sure to be another incredible Sundance Film Festival!


On June 6 in Los Angeles, the Sundance community came out in full force to support the Institute and celebrate two of its own at the third annual Celebrate Sundance Institute benefit. Among the crowd of Institute Trustees, industry leaders and Sundance artists, were some of our own Patron Circle members who reveled in the festivities with us! It was great to see so many familiar faces in the room. Thank you to all who came out to support!

The event program was both touching and thrilling as Ryan Coogler, the first-time writer/director of the Sundance and Cannes Award-winning film Fruitvale Station, and Roger Ebert, the legendary advocate for authentic storytelling in film who passed away in April of this year, were honored with this year’s Vanguard Awards.

Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam announced the creation of the Roger Ebert Scholarship for Film Criticism, in memory of the revered journalist. “Roger Ebert was, without question, one of the greatest champions of independent filmmaking talent the world has ever known,” said Putnam. The scholarship will provide grants to six to eight young critics, allowing them to attend and cover the 2014 Sundance Film Festival as part of the Indiewire Critics Academy. If you are interested in supporting the Roger Ebert scholarship fund click here.

Robert Redford presented Chaz Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award in Memoriam to Roger Ebert, and cited Roger’s early belief in the Sundance mission to provide a home and support-base for independent filmmakers. Chaz said, “Storytelling is what Roger loved about Sundance. It is there you see films about kindness and empathy and begin to understand what makes people tick." Citing Roger’s own words, she continued, “We think creativity is a gift, but truly it is imagination’s life and breath.”

Actress and Sundance alum Kerry Washington gave the Vanguard Award, Presented by Tiffany & Co., to Coogler, who offered his gratitude to the Institute for the varied and steadfast assistance provided throughout the development and production of his first feature film, Fruitvale Station. “Sundance really is like a family. Michelle is like my film mom, and then you got Uncle Bob,” he said, referring to Feature Film Program Director Michelle Satter and Robert Redford, respectively. Throughout the entire event’s program the work and mission of Sundance Institute resonated and the bright spirit of our independent community shined.

Photos courtesy of WireImage


Sadly, independent films fall victim to loss, damage or neglect all too often, so investing in film preservation and ensuring the relevance of cinema in our cultural history remains core to our mission. At the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, we hosted a lovely Collector’s Circle Dinner in which your fellow Patron Circle members voted for our next restoration project. After five worthy films, each in need of preservation, were presented to them by our Festival programmers, they chose Steve James’ milestone 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams to be restored.

When we shared the news with Steve James he was delighted and humbled by the Patron Circle support. “Back in 1994, we were instructed by our sales reps to, well, lie, if the press or distributors asked us what the film was shot on,” he recalls (Hint: it wasn’t film). “There was such a stigma attached to the inferior quality of the video compared to film (we dreamed of shooting on film but couldn’t afford it). Today I cringe when I watch the film because the quality of even professional video 20 years ago is so inferior compared with today’s HD. So imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Sundance wanted to restore Hoop Dreams using the most advanced technology, making it possible not only for the film to look better than it ever has, but preserving it for generations of film lovers and basketball dreamers to come.”

As a steady stream of old tapes and original materials arrive at the archive, the restoration work on Hoop Dreams is now underway, but we still need your help! Thanks to some enthusiastic Patron Circle supporters, we are now only $48,000 away from officially inducting a pristine, fully-restored version of Hoop Dreams into the Sundance Collection. All levels of giving are encouraged and appreciated, but if you donate $10,000 or more your name will be included in the restoration credits attached to the beginning of this unique, newly restored version of a seminal documentary.

To donate to the Hoop Dreams restoration project, please contact Jamie Powell in the Development Office at 310-492-2327 or

Pictured above is our archivists working on the Hoop Dreams restoration in real time!


On April 8, 2013 we celebrated the work of the Theatre Program at a fantastic New York Celebrate Sundance Institute benefit event. Today we continue the celebration by acknowledging the recent success of some of the artists they have supported! The 2013/14 theatre season will showcase full productions of six plays and musicals that were developed through the Theatre Labs:

(New York)
A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder
by Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak
Broadway - Walter Kerr Theater
Previews Begin: October 22
Opening Night: November 17
Starring Jefferson Mays

(New York)
Fun Home
by Lisa Peterson & Jeanine Tesori
Public Theater
October 1–November 3, 2013

(New York)
Little Miss Sunshine
by James Lapine & William Finn
Second Stage Theatre
Begins October 2013

(New York)
When We Were Young & Afraid
by Sarah Treem
Manhattan Theatre Club
Previews Begin: May 22, 2014
Opening Night, June 17, 2014
Starring Cherry Jones

(Washington DC)
by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
November 4–December 1, 2013

The Body of an American
By Dan O’Brien
Gate Theatre

Congratulations to all of the artists and the Theatre Program for fostering these important stories. If you happen to be in these cities during the run of these shows, please take the opportunity to support our Sundance Institute Alumni!

Photo courtesy of WireImage


Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions about the Patron Circle or ideas that may help us improve the program! Call Jamie Powell, manager of the Patron Circle, at 310-492-2327 or email her at

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