2014 is a year of celebration for Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program.
 
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FROM THE DESK OF BIRD RUNNINGWATER

2014 is a year of celebration for Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program. While our commitment to supporting Native filmmakers was an early mandate by our fearless leader Robert Redford, it wasn’t until 1994 that the Program was formalized and Native staffers were brought on board to spearhead this line of work starting with Stephen Lewis and Heather Rae. For the past 20 years, the Native Program has built and sustained a circle of work that begins by scouting for and identifying Native American and Indigenous artists, bringing them through the mechanisms of support at Sundance Institute to get their work made and shown, then bringing the filmmakers and their work back to native lands. At our 2014 Festival we were thrilled to launch our 20 year celebration with a reading event which brought key alumni together such as Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals), Sterlin Harjo (This May Be the Last Time), Sydney Freeland (Drunktown’s Finest), Taika Waititi (What We Do In the Shadows), Danis Goulet (Wakening), and Bill Luther (Miss Navajo).  Each artist read material that inspired them to pursue a life in the arts and filmmaking. Click here to read more about this exciting event. 

Our year of celebration will take us to MOMA in New York City during July where we will present a Carte Blanche retrospective of some of the best Indigenous films that have come through Sundance Institute programs, from our artist development labs to the Sundance Film Festival. We’ll also be hosting an event in August in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the SWAIA Indian Market celebrating our anniversary with the arts community that gathers. Please join us at any of these events. We would love to have you celebrate with us, as we could not have gotten here without your generosity and commitment to the work we do. On behalf of myself and our Native artists, thank you!


YOU VOTED: HOUSE PARTY AND UNZIPPED TO JOIN THE SUNDANCE COLLECTION IN 2014!

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival was a very special year for the Sundance Institute Collection. Thanks to our 2013 Collector’s Circle members who voted for Hoop Dreams to be entered into the Collection and helped fund its ambitious restoration project, we were able to screen a pristine new print of the film to a sold out crowd this January. Steve James, the filmmaking team, and film subject Arthur Agee were all at the screening to celebrate to film’s 20th Anniversary and experience the film for the first time in its improved format. Anyone who joined us at the screening that day could attest to the power of film preservation – both in the improvements to the actual piece and the ability for a past film to spark relevant conversations in today’s society. Please watch this video to get an inside glimpse into the 2014 “From the Collection” screening and learn about the important impact our Collector’s Circle is making on independent film preservation.  Without your support this would have never been possible.

This year, three restoration projects (House Party, Unzipped and Heavy) were presented to our donors at our 4th annual Collector’s Circle dinner. After some enlivened pitches by John Nein and John Cooper, our enthusiastic group of voters decided in an even tie that we should focus our attention on preserving House Party and Unzipped in 2014. These Collection projects reflect unbudgeted institutional priorities that require dedicated funds. Please consider making an additional contribution to the Sundance Institute Collection to support this important preservation work and give the gift of film to generations to come. Contact Elizabeth O’Malley at 310-492-2305 or elizabeth_omalley@sundance.org to learn more about the Collection.


SUNDANCE INSTITUTE AND WOMEN IN FILM LOS ANGELES STUDY CONTINUES TO EXAMINE BARRIERS & OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN FILMMAKERS

In 2012 Sundance Institute, in partnership with Women in Film Los Angeles, announced the beginning of a collaborative initiative designed to achieve gender parity and sustainable careers for women working in filmed entertainment. Now two years later, we are thrilled to be moving forward with expansions of the initiative including a deepened mentorship program, new financing intensives, an expanded network of allied organizations and new and updated research, the results of which can be read here in the full report.
The research documented the gender distribution of filmmakers participating in the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program (FFP) and Documentary Film Program (DFP) Labs between 2002 and 2013 to determine how many emerging female writers, directors and producers receive critical artistic support as part of their filmmaking background, and how this may affect their careers and the pipeline overall.

Key findings include:

  • Female storytellers compete and flourish at Sundance Institute Labs. Of the 432 Lab Fellows between 2002 and 2013, 42.6% were female. Women comprised 39.3% of Fellows in the Feature Film Program (FFP) and 54.5% of Fellows in the Documentary Film Program (DFP).
  • Sundance Institute Lab projects helmed by women succeed at just shy of equal rates as male-helmed projects in production and top festival exhibition. The percentage of FFP Lab projects completed did not vary by gender; roughly 41% of male-helmed and female-helmed projects were finished. 81.3% of all finished FFP films went on to play at the top 10 festivals worldwide, and of these, no gender differences emerged.

We also welcomed a new class of mentees this year including: Producer Brenda Coughlin (Dirty Wars), Director Marta Cunningham (Valentine Road), Director Mari Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Director Shola Lynch (Free Angela and All Political Prisoners), Producer Jordana Mollick (Life Partners) and Producer Kim Sherman (A Teacher). In addition to our current mentorship program, we are proud to announce that this group will also participate in the new Sundance Institute Coaching Program sponsored by the Harnisch Foundation. The program will pair professional coaches with each of these emerging talents, providing them with vital support and guidance as they shape the important next steps of their careers in filmmaking. Sundance Institute staff is eager to work with these exceptional fellows to further the conversation about women in independent film and continue to expand our programs that support a more diverse film industry.

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 Elizabeth O’Malley, Manager of Patron Circle, at 310-492-2305 or email at elizabeth_omalley@sundance.org.

YOUR FAVORITE 2013 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL DOCUMENTARIES MADE A SPLASH AT THE 86TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

Sundance Institute was thrilled to watch the Oscars on Sunday, March 2nd and cheer on the 4 Sundance-supported documentary films and alumni that were nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Film award this year. Although many of you may know and love these films from their premieres at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, many may not know that the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program was instrumental in fostering two of these projects in their early development stages, granting the film teams vital funds to finish production and bring these important stories to audiences. We couldn’t be happier to have helped these culturally significant films gain recognition on a global level both through our Festival programs and artist development programs. Please join us in celebrating the success of these wonderful filmmakers:

It was so fantastic to see Twenty Feet From Stardom take home the prize, especially since many of us experienced that film for the first time together at a Patron Circle private screening! If you happened to miss these films at the 2013 Festival or in theatres, you can watch them now online. Click the film titles above to find out what platforms they are available on.

SUNDANCE LONDON HITS THE O2 AGAIN THIS APRIL: JOIN US THROUGH THE FRIEND OF SUNDANCE LONDON PROGRAM!

We hope you can join us in London for a third year of great films, music, and events, set to take place April 25-27, 2014. Sundance London will host a myriad of fantastic Sundance films, music performances, special events, panels and more. On sale now is the Friend of Sundance London Package, designed for those looking for a VIP Festival experience and a London vacation specially curated by Sundance! It includes priority access to all film screenings and panel events, the best seats at music events, invitations to private parties with filmmakers and built-in London cultural excursions to make the most of your time inside and out of the theaters. To find out more about this package and other Sundance London ticket options, please visit www.sundance-london.com/tickets-2013 or feel free to call Elizabeth O’Malley at 310-492-2305.

GET TO KNOW THE FEATURE FILM PROGRAM

One of the artist development programs that your generous donation to Sundance Institute supports is the Feature Film Program. Since Sundance Institute’s inception in 1981, the Feature Film Program has been helping films like Fruitvale Station, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Sin Nombre evolve from a glimmer of a story in a filmmaker’s mind to a fully constructed and beautiful independent film that has the power to inspire audiences and provoke cultural dialogue. We encourage you to take a moment now to watch this short trailer and learn about the unique work we do in supporting some of the greatest emerging artists in cinema today.

A LOOK BACK AT THE 2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

It was so great to experience the 2014 Sundance Film Festival  with so many of you through the Patron Circle program! It was such a special year for Sundance in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Festival and the programming could not have been more perfectly in line with our mission to advance the work of risk-taking storytellers worldwide. We hope you had a fantastic time in Park City and enjoyed a myriad of dynamic films, music performances, panels and events. To bring a little bit of the magic back, please watch this video and reminisce with us on some of our favorite moments of this Festival! Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s Festival dates, January 22 through February 1. We look forward to making new memories with you in 2015!

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