Alumni Advisory Board
A group of Sundance Institute artist alumni who volunteer their time and voices to share their experiences, and to help tell the Sundance Institute story. These alumni are a range of directors, screenwriters, actors, theatre artists, and musicians who have been a vital part of the indie film and theatre community and Sundance Institute family for years, and now take on an even bigger role as the 2012 Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board. Each month we highlight one member of the Alumni Advisory Board on our website.
Lake Bell is a talented actress, writer, and director. Lake wrote and directed the short film Worst Enemy which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. She also participated in the 2011 Sundance Comedy ShortsLab in LA. Bell will next be seen in Katie Aselton's film Black Rock premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Bell is currently in production on the fourth season of the critically acclaimed Adult Swim series "Children's Hospital," created by Rob Corddry. Lake is The Hollywood Reporter's Automotive Contributing Editor where she pens her "Test Drive" column, which covers the glamorous wheels and auto-trends of Hollywood. Past film credits include A Good Old Fashioned Orgy,No Strings Attached. It's Complicated, What Happens in Vegas, Pride and Glory, Over Her Dead Body, Burning Palms, Little Murder, and the independent film Under Still Waters. Past television credits include NBC's "Surface," ABC's critically acclaimed drama "Boston Legal", and NBC's "Miss Match". Bell completed four years of drama conservatory training in London at The Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. She also received certification from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat for sword, dagger, and rapier.
Borderline Films - Antonio Campos
Antonio will premiere his second feature film Simon Killer at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Antonio wrote and directed the critically acclaimed feature film Afterschool for which he was nominated for a 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Antonio was a member of the 2006 Cannes Residence. In 2009, Antonio was named by Variety as one of the top "10 Directors to Watch." Antonio was one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2006 "25 New Faces of Film". His short film Buy It Now premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival where it won 1st Prize in the Cinefondation. Antonio produced Sean Durkin's 2011 Sundance Film Festival's Martha Marcy May Marlene, and executive produced Durkin's short Mary Last Seen.
Borderline Films - Sean Durkin
Martha Marcy May Marlene, the debut feature from writer/director Sean Durkin, was developed at the 2010 Sundance Screenwriter's and Director's Lab. The film premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Fox Searchlight, and Sean received the Sundance prize for Best Director. Martha Marcy May Marlene also screened as part of Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the Prix de la Jeunesse (Youth Prize). The film received three Gotham Award Nominations, and has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. Sean's short film Mary Last Seen premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and screened at 2010 Director's Fortnight in Cannes, where it won the PRIX SFR for Best Short. Sean has produced three feature films including Afterschool for which Sean was nominated for a 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. More recently, Sean executive produced Two Gates of Sleep and Simon Killer. Sean is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Film &Television.
Borderline Films - Josh Mond
Josh has produced three feature films to date. His most recent film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and screened Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it received the Prix de la jeunesse (Youth Prize). Josh was a 2009 Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature for producing Afterschool. Josh also produced the feature Two Gates of Sleep, and Simon Killer which will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Josh has produced and directed several music videos and commercials for clients as various as Island Def Jam, Atlantic Records, Sony Records, Foot Locker, Citibank, Bloomingdales, MTVU and Ebay. Among Josh's directorial credits is the acclaimed music video for Mayday Parade's "Kids in Love," which was featured at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival and was named by MTV as one of the top videos of the year. Short films produced by Josh include Mary Last Seen, and The Last 15. Josh was the recipient of the 2006 commendation award at NYU's 1st Run Film Festival for Achievement in Music Video. Josh was also the recipient of the 2010 Annenberg Film Fellow grant from the Sundance Producers Lab, and was a finalist for the 15th annual Piaget Producers Award honoring emerging independent film producers.
Catherine Hardwicke made her directorial debut with Thirteen at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Thirteen also won the 2003 Sundance Directing Award. She has been a frequent Creative Advisor at Sundance Institute's Directors and Screenwriting Labs. She also directed the films Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story, Twilight and Red Riding Hood. The opening weekend of Twilight was the biggest opening ever for a female director. Prior to directing, Catherine worked as a production designer on such films as Tombstone , Tank Girl, 2 Days in the Valley , The Newton Boys , and Three Kings , and Vanilla Sky.
Rashida Jones with her versatility in both comedic and dramatic roles and her growing presence in Hollywood as a screenwriter, has quickly established herself as one of the industry's bright stars. Rashida will premiere her film Celeste and Jesse Forever which she co-penned with writing partner Will McCormack at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. This past year, she was seen in Disney's hit The Muppets, The Big Year; Our Idiot Brother which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Monogamy, and Friends with Benefits. On television, Rashida can currently be seen on NBC's Emmy Award-nominated "Parks and Recreation." Rashida recently sold the script adaptation of the comic book that she co-wrote, Frenemy of the State to Universal Pictures. She graduated from Harvard University, where she appeared in several plays including For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Odd Couple: The Female Version, and H.M.S. Pinafore. She was also in Pitching to the Star with Peggy Lipton, at the Lee Strasburg Theatre.
Rory Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, as well as co-founder and president of Moxie Firecracker Films. Her films cover an array of issues ranging from poverty to politics to human rights, and have been shown on HBO, A&E, MTV, Lifetime, and PBS. She has screened four of her films at the Sundance Film Festival - American Hollow, Fallen Cradle Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and The Fence. Rory also was on the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Jury. Rory's film Ethel (about the remarkable life of her mother Ethel Kennedy) will screen in the Documentary Premieres section of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Ellen is an American cinematographer and director. Ellen was nominated for an Academy Award for Nerakhoon (The Betrayal) her directorial debut at the 2008 Festival. Nerahkoon (The Betrayal) also received a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund in 1997, and was a project at the 2006 Documentary Composers Lab. She has been a cinematographer for many Sundance Festival films including Angela, Asylum, Be Kind Rewind, Heart of the Matter, I Shot Andy Warhol, Nerahkoon (The Betrayal), Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Personal Velocity, Poverty Outlaw, Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, Swoon, and Unzipped. Other films she has worked on as a cinematographer include Away We Go, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Coffee and Cigarettes (2003),Analyze That (2002),Blow (2001),Bamboozled (2000), and Summer of Sam (1999). Ellen was a Creative Advisor at the 2005 Directors Lab, and she was on the Festival's Dramatic Competition Jury in 1997.
Justin began writing, directing and producing numerous short films at UCLA, where he earned his BA and MFA in film directing. His solo directorial debut, the critically acclaimed Better Luck Tomorrow, premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. In April 2003, the film went on to make box-office history as the highest-grossing (per-screen average) opening weekend film for MTV Films/Paramount Pictures. In 2006, Justin directed Annapolis for Touchstone Pictures and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift for Universal Pictures. He then ventured back into the independent film world to make the ’70s period-piece comedy Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, Lin directed Universal’s Fast & Furious, which reunited the original cast of the franchise and sparked new life for series. Justin then directed the critically-acclaimed fifth installment of the franchise, Fast Five, which has become one of Universal’s most financially successful movies of all time. Justin is presently in the midst of developing and producing several new film and television projects. This year, Justin will return to the Sundance Film Festival as a member of the 2011 Jury.
Diego Luna has lent his acting talent to more than 30 films, both Mexican and foreign. He has participated at the Sundance Film Festival as an actor, director and on the 2008 Festival Jury. Most notably, he is known for his participation in the successful film Y Tu Mamá También which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Abel, his second project behind the cameras, and his fiction feature debut, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival followed by Cannes, Los Angeles, San Sebasián, London, among others. Diego began his professional career on the stage at the ripe age of seven. At the age of twelve, he made his television debut and has since included film, television and stage in his repertoire.His latest film participations include Mister Lonely, directed by Harmony Korine; Rudo y Cursi, where he reunited with Gael García Bernal under the direction of Carlos Cuarón at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; and Milk, alongside Sean Penn, under the direction of Gus Van Sant.
Billy Luther premiered his documentary Miss Navajo at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. He premiered his second documentary Grab at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Grab also screened as part of Sundance Institute at the Autry Presents Native Films program, a new partnership with the Autry National Center that enables free public screenings of films created by emerging filmmakers from around the world with the support of Sundance Institute's Native American and Indigenous Program. He belongs to the Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo Tribes.
Mark Ruffalo has been acting on stage and in film and television for 20 years. He made his film directorial debut with Sympathy for Delicious at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, which won a Special Jury Prize. Mark has acted in multiple Sundance Film Festival films including, XX / XY, You Can Count On Me, and The Kids Are All Right for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Mark is very active in the environmental fight against Hyrdofracking and the Era Of Extreme energy extraction. He has also been active in The Occupy Wall Street movement. He is currently in production on The Avengers, in which he will play Bruce Banner.
Gingger is an Indian America composer, violinist and singer, and part one of the world’s most acclaimed and influential musical families. Gingger is an alumni of the 2007 Sundance Institute Composers Lab. She has scored films such as Sundance award-winning documentary Recycle, IDFA documentary This is My Picture When I Was Dead, 2011 Sundance feature film Circumstance and many others. The Multimedia Musical Performance Himalaya Song featuring live narration by filmmaker Mridu Chandra and musical performances by musicians Gingger Shankar (vocals/double violin) and Dave Liang (piano/electronics) will premiere at New Frontier at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Gingger is the only female in the world that has mastered the 10-string Double Violin, an instrument that covers the entire range of the orchestra's double bass, cello, viola and violin, and of which there are currently only two in existence. Coupled with her voice, which covers five octaves, the sound is unparalleled, unbridled, and unforgettable. Gingger has collaborated with artists such as Trent Reznor, L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Phil Collins, Steve Vai, Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin, Cheap Trick, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. She has also worked on the films Passion of the Christ, Charlie Wilson's War The Forbidden Kingdom and Love Guru.
Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. Hank is Co-Director of Question Bridge: Black Males featured at New Frontier at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Hank was a Fellow at the 2011 Sundance Institute New Frontier StoryLab. Hank received a BFA in Photography and Africana Studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He received an MFA in Photography and an MA in Visual Criticism at the California College of the Arts. His work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. e. His photographs have been published in numerous books and publications including: Reflections in Black: A History of African American Photographers (W.W.Norton, 2000); 25 under 25: American Photographers (Power House Books, 2003); Black: A Celebration of a Culture (Hylas Publishing, 2004); and Winter in America (self-published in 2006 with Kambui Olujimi).. His work can be seen at www.hankwillisthomas.com.
Doug is an American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2004 for his play, I Am My Own Wife, in addition to the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play. He has been a Creative Advisor at both the Directors and Screenwriters Labs, and the Theatre Lab, Theatre Lab at White Oak and 2011 Theatre Lab at Banff. He was a Fellow at the 2000 and 2010 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross with I Am My Own Wife and Grey Gardens.