LOS ANGELES — The class of 2021 has arrived: The Sundance Institute and Adobe announced this year’s Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows today, chosen from a global pool of more than 1,650 applicants from ages 18–25. Hailing from a broad geography, and rooted in a diverse array of creative disciplines from documentary to fiction, these 10 emerging artists will engage with a year of mentorship and support from the Sundance Institute and Sundance Ignite founding partner Adobe.
Fellows were selected from a one- to 15-minute short film submitted to the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Short Film Challenge, hosted on the Institute’s digital community platform, Sundance Collab.
Park City, Utah – Sundance Institute today announced the participants for its weeklong Producers Lab, taking place July 25 – 29, and the participants in the Producers Summit, August 2 – 5, both taking place digitally on Sundance Co//ab. Five fiction film and five nonfiction producers and their projects have been selected for the Producers Labs, and more than 50 industry leaders and 65 independent filmmakers will participate in the Producers Summit. Under the leadership of Creative Producing and Artist Support Director Shira Rockowitz and Documentary Film Program Deputy Director Kristin Feeley, the Institute’s Producers Program champions the current and next generation of producers across fiction and nonfiction film and encompasses a year-round series of Labs, Fellowships, granting and events.
Earlier this year, we saw firsthand the key role technology plays in advancing our mission-critical work of connecting artists with audiences. With the newest addition to the senior leadership team, we’re cementing technological sophistication as a priority
in our ongoing work.
We’re thrilled to welcome Phaedra Marshall to the Sundance Institute family as Chief Product and Technology Officer.
Women’s Financing Intensive from WIF & Sundance Institute Elevates 12 Feature Projects with Tailored Support
LOS ANGELES – The Sundance Institute and WIF (Women In Film, Los Angeles) today announce the projects and creators selected for the annual WIF and Sundance Institute Financing Intensive. The Intensive is designed to help women producers—fiction and documentary—build
the skills and relationships necessary to advance a feature-length project to the next stage of financing success.
On July 14–15, producers and their attached directors participate in small group workshops focused on both pitching and financing strategy, and professional skills development.
LOS ANGELES—Today, Laugh Out Loud, the multi-platform comedy brand founded by Kevin Hart, and the Sundance Institute, the nonprofit film organization behind the Sundance Film Festival and labs, announced the launch of Women Write Now, a screenwriting fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy. Through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition, this immersive program will offer a selection of talented writers the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentorship and professional guidance from leading Black women in comedy and to see their original comedic screenplay produced by LOL Studios.
In an effort to bring visibility and opportunity to Black women both in front of and behind the camera, LOL has brought on Meagan Good (The Intruder, Think Like a Man), Bresha Webb (Run the World), and Gabrielle Dennis (A Black Lady Sketch Show), who will each step behind the camera as director of one of the short films.
Ever wonder why so many of the best coming-of-age stories in cinematic history are set during the summer? We expect it might have something to do with the wistfulness we adults tend to have for the long, unstructured days and cool, breezy nights that made up the summers of our youth — the ideal backdrop for plenty of thoughtful reflection, personal growth, and memories of ill-advised adventures we treasure to this day.
While the Sundance Film Festival takes place at the peak of winter in snowy Utah every January, over the years, we’ve had plenty of must-see coming-of-age stories come through Park City to heat things up a bit. Today we’re rounding up some of those key titles in a watchlist packed with formative first loves, first heartbreaks, and first jobs, starting with Joyce Chopra’s beloved drama Smooth Talk from the 1986 Festival and spanning the way up to Lucia Garibaldi’s The Sharks, a prize-winning film that was released just last year.
As Warsaw-based director Jakub Piątek tells it, shooting his debut feature — a thriller set in the late 1990s with the threat of Y2K looming — during the COVID-19 pandemic felt somewhat fitting. “Our story is claustrophobic, and our protagonists are locked in a TV studio for a couple of hours,” says the director. “After the lockdown, the actors and crew could easily get into that emotional space.
On behalf of the Sundance Institute Indigenous Program, we would like to wish everyone a safe, affirming, and happy Pride — not just this month, but every day until our Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community members have the space and opportunity to exist fully and authentically. We also encourage allies to support and center Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ stories and voices.
As Pride becomes increasingly commodified, we want to affirm the queer and gender-diverse Indigenous people who for the last five centuries have remained steadfast in challenging the imposition of this rigid binary system through their art, their activism, and their existence.
The Sundance Institute is thrilled to resume the Accessible Futures Initiative in 2021 as a virtual intensive. Created in 2019, the intensive is part of the Sundance Institute’s ongoing commitment to deepening outreach to and support of artists with disabilities, including amplifying accessibility at the Sundance Film Festival with guidance and support of our partners at Easterseals Southern California and implementing all-staff accessibility inclusion trainings provided by RespectAbility. The 2021 Intensive will take the shape of a cross-genre project consultation and career strategy workshop for artists of color, with disabilities, in the development or early production of fiction and nonfiction projects.
During the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, scholar and critic B. Ruby Rich took the stage in Park City to host a panel discussion that delved into an important chapter in independent film history that was just then unfolding. Assembled for the conversation — titled “Barbed-Wire Kisses” by the Festival’s then-director, Alberto Garcia — were preeminent artists and writers like Gregg Araki, Todd Haynes, Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien, Tom Kalin, Jennie Livingston, Marlon Riggs, Sadie Benning, and Lisa Kennedy.
Sundance Institute’s Documentary Fund Adjusts Application, Adds Assistance to Artists with Disabilities
For more than 20 years now, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has supported the work of nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Previous recipients have included projects like Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s Crip Camp, Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, and Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons. This year, as we open our latest call for applicants, the fund’s director, Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, is writing to explain some recent changes to the process.
ICYMI, the Sundance Institute teamed up with TheFutureParty recently to launch Club Cinema, a new series on Clubhouse where audiences are invited to hear directly from the creators of their favorite new releases — and maybe even ask a question of their own. More details here!
During Summertime’s world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival — during the peak of a snowy Park City, Utah, winter — writer-director Carlos Lopez Estrada called his free-verse love letter to Los Angeles a “miracle movie.” “We basically sold the movie on a three-sentence pitch,” he remarked of the communal project, which weaves together the stories of more than 30 disparate characters in a loose, roving, Slacker-esque narrative style over the course of a hot summer day.
The 20th annual Tribeca Film Festival kicks off in New York today, bringing back in-person screenings at venues around the city. We’re excited to see 16 Sundance Institute–supported projects in the lineup, and we can’t wait for the chance to see them on the big screen. (Not in NYC? Not a problem — the festival is also offering $15-per-title Tribeca at Home virtual screenings for select titles.
Los Angeles — The Sundance Institute today announced the latest cohort of Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Grantees. A total of $590,000 in unrestricted grant support has been provided to 18 projects in various stages including five in development, eight in production, and five in post-production. Grants are made possible by The Open Society Foundations, the John D.
John Cooper is the emeritus director of the Sundance Film Festival, a role he stepped into this summer after serving as Festival director from 2010 to 2020. He originally joined Sundance Institute in 1989.
PS: The Sundance Institute is now on Letterboxd! Check out this list there and give us a follow.