News & Stories

Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

Sundance Institute Names Joana Vicente as Its Next CEO

LOS ANGELES — The Sundance Institute Board of Trustees announced today that it has named longtime filmmaker and executive Joana Vicente as its next CEO. She joins the renowned media and arts nonprofit at a time of extraordinary growth and impact, in which it is uniquely positioned as a leading global advocate for independent artists, diversity in media, freedom of expression, and the critical role of arts in shaping society. Vicente will be responsible for setting strategies for the Institute that embrace the evolving future of storytelling and build on the Institute’s record of accomplishment in supporting visionary artists with distinct voices in film, theater, film composing, episodic storytelling, and emerging media.

The Sundance Institute Announces Joana Vicente as CEO

Dear Sundance community,
As you are all aware, the Sundance Institute’s valued friend and leader Keri Putnam stepped down as CEO earlier this year after a decade of leading the Institute. Since that day, the Board Search Committee, along with the expert team at leading search firm Spencer Stuart, has undertaken a comprehensive search to find Keri’s successor — someone who is able to maintain our commitment to discovering and developing independent artists, while being able to adapt to the changing world, providing space for storytellers to create and thrive in ways that open our eyes to new worlds, perspectives, and opportunities. We met with an exceptional group of candidates and were inspired and excited by the strength and diversity of their skills, passion, and expertise.

The Latest


The 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Visual Identity Takes Cues from the Convergence of Light and Life

Like planets orbiting a star, moths drawn to a flame, or film lovers gravitating to a screen, life gathers around light. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival takes inspiration from our solar system’s biggest, most radiant source of light and life: the sun. We’re graphically representing our closest star as a point of, and inspiration for, convergence. Our Festival will shine the brightest of lights on independent artists and their powerful, culture-shifting work.

14 Sundance-Supported Stories That Explore the Latinx Experience in the United States

The Sundance Film Festival has stood by the work of these often silenced voices. Currently, the programming team is blessed to include three Latinas from different countries, experiences but Shari Frilot’s 17 years of work as a fearless champion of this community must be noted and celebrated. Cheers to all the filmmakers, curators, and supporters of Latinx work. Below, see our list of films and where you can stream them today.

Meet the 2022 Sundance Film Festival Programming Team

Over the years, the Sundance Film Festival programming team has curated some unforgettable lineups in Park City, sifting through thousands of entries every Festival season and melding their unique personal tastes to bring audiences the latest and greatest from visionary new voices as well as established auteurs from all over the world. The lengthy process of picking the films that eventually populate the Festival’s final program — from the genre-fueled Midnight to the form-defying galaxy of New Frontier — begins every summer with an open call for submissions.

This year’s call opened in June, and with early deadlines quickly approaching, we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to this year’s programming team.


Artist Spotlight

Straight Out of Sundance: “Reservation Dogs” Creator Sterlin Harjo on Making His First Feature, “Four Sheets to the Wind”

Earlier this summer, the Sundance Institute marked its 40th anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion, we caught up with dozens of Institute alumni to learn more about how they brought some of their very first projects from development to debut. In our Straight Out of Sundance series, we’ll be sharing more of their stories with you. Want to learn more about the nonprofit Institute’s year-round work supporting artists around the world — and how you can help? Visit our Membership page today.

From the Labs

Off the Mountain: A Peek Inside the Sundance Institute’s Digital Summer Labs

Dogfight, A Dry White Season, The 40-Year-Old Version, El Norte, Reservoir Dogs, The Wood, Pretty Woman—these are just a few of the memorable independent films that have gone through the Sundance Institute’s summer labs over the past four decades. Bringing together established mentors and exciting talent from a wide range of artistic disciplines, the labs have been a core part of the nonprofit Institute’s mission since the very beginning.
From 1981 up until this year, most of these gatherings have taken place high in the mountains of Utah at the Sundance Resort, an idyllic backdrop that allows participants from all over the world—among them directors, screenwriters, XR artists, actors, playwrights, composers, and editors—to shut out the demands and pressures of the outside world and really focus on their craft.

Michelle Satter on Reimagining Sundance Institute’s Summer Labs

Michelle Satter is the director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, a post she has held since the Institute was founded in 1981. In the letter below, she offers insights into how the Institute’s signature Labs have been carefully adapted and reimagined to go digital on Sundance Co//ab.
For the thousands who gather in Park City each winter, the Sundance Film Festival is the most visible part of Sundance Institute.

8 Filmmakers You Probably Didn’t Know Came through the Sundance Labs

Summer at Sundance Institute means one thing: lab season. Our labs are week-or-more-long intensive residency programs pairing budding artists with experienced mentors, all designed to help new voices hone their craft.
And the labs aren’t just on writing or directing (though we have those, too)—we have labs for everything from creative producing to composing music for film to working with VR and new media.

Now Playing

Release Rundown: What to Watch in October, from ‘Mayday’ to ‘Passing’

Five 2021 Sundance Film Festival alums released to wide audiences in October attest to the variety of independent cinema created in our times. A fantasy, a thriller, a fantasy thriller, a Harlem Renaissance–set period film, and a drama imagined in the distant aftermath of a mass shooting are among the films opening in theaters and/or on streaming services this month.

Release Rundown: What to Watch in September, From ‘My Name Is Pauli Murray’ to ‘El Planeta’

Betsy West and Julie Cohen, the team behind the Oscar-nominated film about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, bring another trailblazing personality to light this fall.
My Name Is Pauli Murray, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, is one of eight Sundance-supported gems opening to wider audiences in the United States this September. The pair’s previous project, RBG, played the Festival in 2018.

Release Rundown: Sundance Films to Watch in August, from ‘CODA’ to ‘Bring Your Own Brigade’

Even before the 2021 Sundance Film Festival had ended, before the final screening had screened and all the awards bestowed, CODA, Sian Heder’s heartfelt film about a spunky teenager who is the only hearing member of her family, achieved crowd-pleaser status.

Following CODA’s online premiere, Variety pronounced it an “emotional knockout.” Hollywood Reporter called it a “radiant, deeply satisfying heartwarmer.

Creative Distribution

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From the Archives: The 3 Things It Takes to Be an Independent Producer

As the spiritual closing of Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Summit, Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper wrapped up the weekend with the “One Word Challenge.”Cooper’s challenge to his three keynote guests was simple: “It is 2011, and the most important thing a producer needs to survive is …” Panelists were given this one-word task by email before arriving in Utah and told to bring their best thinking to the audience of creative fellows and advisors. The experiment is both simple and profound, and audience members were invited to play along with cards of their own.

‘I Knew People Wanted to See It’: The ‘In Reality’ Team on Why and How They Self-Distributed

In part one of this interview, In Reality writer/director/star Ann Lupo and producer Holly Meehl shared how they got their anti-romantic comedy feature off the ground. In this second and final part, we explore how they navigated self-distribution.
Were you building an audience along the way? How did you keep people engaged?
AL: During post-production I took on a side project editing a short for Casey Neistat called “Filmmaking is a Sport,” and it completely changed my perspective on YouTube.

From Short Film to Unexpected Feature: How ‘In Reality’ Came to Life

Liz Manashil is a filmmaker and former manager of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative.
A few months ago, before I had a baby, I encountered the anti-romantic comedy feature film In Reality, which I immediately fell for. As I told the filmmakers later, it was the movie I needed when I was in my early 20s.

From the Archives

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