Women at Sundance


After three years of groundbreaking research, the question can progress from “Why are female directors missing behind the camera in top films?’ to “What can be done to create change?” The growing sense of urgency around this question required an industry-wide response. To meet this challenge, in October 2015, we gathered 50 male and female decision-makers from studios, networks, agencies, production and distribution companies, as well as creative, philanthropic, guild and academic stakeholders, to help design a strategy that would last. These decision-makers signed on as Ambassadors, and together we launched ReFrame, a multi-partner effort to cultivate gender parity at every level of the film, TV, and media industry.

ReFrame's unique strategy is its peer-to-peer approach. All members of the 50-person ReFrame launch team will act as ReFrame Ambassadors and personally lead catalyzing meetings with their peers, other Hollywood top executives at studios, networks, agencies and independent financing entities. To transform the face of media, ReFrame Ambassadors will introduce programs and collaborative practices designed by the group to address the key levers in the media ecosystem. Initial programs include (1) a field-wide Sponsor/Protege Program identifying and providing high-level endorsement for top women directors poised to advance their careers, (2) accreditation for gender inclusiveness in the form of a ReFrame Stamp certification, and (3) a customized Culture Change Toolkit to provide resources, best practices and training to create cultures that yield more balanced hiring and staffing decisions. Learn more about ReFrame and hear from our ambassadors in The Hollywood Reporter.

Resource Map

In an effort to provide US-based female filmmakers a comprehensive view of available support, we created a Resource Map surveying more than 150 programs from 50 organizations that serve female filmmakers. The result is a user-friendly searchable database of programs, events, workshops and services--an information storehouse where female media artists can tap into resources and opportunities.


Catalyst Women

Together, Sundance Institute and The Harnisch Foundation are launching Catalyst Women, a groundbreaking new program offering creative investors the opportunity to directly support women-led projects seeking financing. We are joining forces to combat one of the major obstacles to gender parity in independent film: a lack of access to capital among women filmmakers.

The inaugural Catalyst Women will take place May 4–5 in New York City. The goal? To connect film financiers dedicated to women artists with highly anticipated Sundance Institute–supported feature and documentary projects. The day and a half will include project presentations, meetings with filmmaking teams, and seminars to educate attendees about independent film.

We hope you’ll join us for this one-of-a-kind program to help build gender parity in filmmaking and bring these vital women’s voices to audiences everywhere. To participate in this event or to learn more about the Catalyst and Women at Sundance communities, contact Becca Keating, assistant director of individual giving, at becca_keating@sundance.org or 310-360-1981.


Get involved in the Women at Sundance community to support the women artists at the forefront of storytelling. Join our community.

Women at Sundance is made possible by leadership support from The Harnisch Foundation and Refinery29.

Additional support is provided by LUNA, Kering, The Jacquelyn & Gregory Zehner Foundation, Southern California BMW Centers, Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, IMDb, Abigail Disney and Pierre Hauser, Ann Lovell, Barbara Bridges, LUNA, Gruber Family Foundation, Ruth Mutch, Women In Film Los Angeles, Vimeo, Paul Bernon, Sam Slater and David Bernon (Burn Later Productions), Mark and Melanie Greenberg, Lorna Auerbach (Chasca Films, LLC), Tom Warne, and Claire Best.