Sundance Institute Announces Fellows for Sundance Institute | Luma Foundation Directors Retreat in Arles

Creative Exchange, Unstructured Work Time for International Stage & Film Directors

Los Angeles, CA — Six directors have convened in Arles, France for the sixth annual Sundance Institute | Luma Foundation Directors Retreat in Arles, France, from August 1-12, 2019. Founded in 2013 as a creative collaboration between Sundance Institute’s Theatre Program and Luma Foundation, the Retreat is an opportunity for directors to meet, share best and emerging practices, and work self-directed on their upcoming projects.

“At this Retreat, we ask only for a spirit of inquiry from our participants,” said Christopher Hibma, Director of the Institute’s Theatre Program. “We’ve broadened our scope to include artists across disciplines, and our conversations and reflections — about careers, aspirations, the industry, and art — will evolve as a result. This community comes together in Arles, a city that has embodied and fostered creativity for thousands of years — and more specifically, under the auspices of the Luma Foundation, which has focused the boundless inspiration of the place.”

In addition to organized confabs and unstructured work time, the group will participate in cultural outings — including exhibitions at the Rencontres d’Arles and the Vincent Van Gogh Fondation Arles.

The Fellows selected for this year’s Retreat are:

Omar Abusaada is a Syrian director and playwright who lives in Damascus.

His works include: The Factory (2018), While I Was Waiting (2016), Antigone of Shatila (2014), Syria Trojan Women (2013), Almirwad Wa Almikhala (2009), Al Affich (2006), and others. He has performed internationally at Lincoln Center in New York, Wiener Festwochen, Festival d’ Automne in Paris, Zurich Theatre Spektakel, and Meeting Points, among others.

Steve Cosson is the writer/director of numerous shows as the Artistic Director of The Civilians, with productions at major Off-Broadway and regional theaters, several BAM Next Wave Festivals, international touring and as artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Director of many world premieres by writers including José Rivera, Anne Washburn, Bess Wohl and composer Michael Friedman.

Anne Kauffman. New York: Fire In My Mouth (NY Philharmonic), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova), Hundred Days (NYTW, Z Space, The Know Theater), Mary Jane (Lortel Award for Direction, NYTW & Yale Rep), Marvin’s Room (Roundabout Theatre Company), Assassins (Encores Off-Center), Sundown, Yellow Moon (Women’s Project/Ars Nova), A Life (Lortel nomination, Drama League Nomination), Marjorie Prime (Lortel Nomination, Drama League Nomination); Detroit, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra and Maple and Vine (Playwrights Horizons); The Nether, Smokefall (MCC); Buzzer (The Public); Belleville (Lortel Nomination, NYTW, Yale Rep); You Got Older (Drama Desk Nomination, P73 Productions); The Muscles in Our Toes (Labyrinth Theater Company); Somewhere Fun, God’s Ear (New Georges and Vineyard Theater); Stunning, Slowgirl (LCT3). Regional:  The Year to Come (La Jolla Playhouse), The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Smokefall (Goodman Theatre); And No More Shall We Part, You Better Sit Down: Tales from My  Parents’ Divorce, Six Degrees of Separation (Williamstown Theater Festival); Belleville (Yale Rep, Steppenwolf). Artistic Director of Encores! Off-Center at City Center, Resident Director Roundabout Theater, Artistic Associate and Founding Member of The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb Associate Artist and co-creator of the CT Directing Fellowship, New Georges Associate Artist, Artistic Council of Soho Rep, SDC Executive Board Member.  Three OBIES, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award.

In 2008, Laura Penn joined SDC, the theatrical union that unites, empowers, and protects professional stage directors and choreographers throughout the United States. Prior to SDC, Laura supported the careers, and produced the work, of many of the country’s leading directors and playwrights at Seattle Rep and Arena Stage, and as the Managing Director of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre.

Filmmaker Laura Poitras received an Academy Award for her film CITIZENFOUR, and a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the NSA. Her solo exhibition of installations, Astro Noise, was presented at the Whitney Museum. Her most recent film is a collaboration with Forensic Architecture. She is the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship.

Hana S. Sharif is a director, playwright, producer and the Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. She has served as Associate Artistic Director at Baltimore Center Stage; Associate Artistic Director, Director of New Play Development, and Artistic Producer at Hartford Stage. Hana also served as co-founder and Artistic Director of Nasir Productions, which brings theatre to underserved communities.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Perry and Martin Granoff; Luma Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Wendy vanden Heuvel; John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Wyncote Foundation—Leonard Haas; Richenthal Foundation; The Carrie Louise Hamilton Foundation; and Francena T. Harrison Foundation.

Sundance Institute

Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


In 2004, Maja Hoffmann created the Luma Foundation in Switzerland to support the activities of artists, independent pioneers, and organizations working in the visual and performing arts, photography, publishing, documentary filmmaking, and multimedia. Envisioned as a production tool for Hoffmann’s multi-faceted ventures, the Luma Foundation produces, supports, and enables challenging art projects committed to an expansive understanding of environmental issues, human rights, education, and culture.

In 2013, Hoffmann launched Luma Arles to plan, develop, and manage the Parc des Ateliers, an expansive former industrial site located in Arles, France. Situated adjacent to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Parc des Ateliers serves as the major programmatic and cultural center for Luma’s diverse activities.

Luma Arles includes a resource center designed by architect Frank Gehry; various industrial buildings rehabilitated by Selldorf Architects; and a public park designed by landscape architect Bas Smets. In anticipation of its completion, the site’s main building designed by Gehry will open in 2020, Hoffmann works closely with the Luma Arles Core Group (Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, and Beatrix Ruf) on a program of exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects presented each year in the site’s newly rehabilitated venues of the Grande Halle, Les Forges, La Formation and the Mécanique Générale.

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