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Sundance Alums Take Center Stage at 2022 Cannes Film Festival

By Stephanie Ornelas

The 2022 Cannes Film Festival is in full swing, and our eyes are on Sundance Film Festival alums Shaunak Sen (All That Breathes) and Charlotte Wells (Aftersun) as major distributors announced their acquisitions. HBO Max recently acquired All That Breathes, which premiered during the Special Screenings segment, and A24 won the rights to Aftersun just this week, which had its world premiere during this year’s Critics’ Week. Both directors received support through Sundance Institute during their filmmaking process. 

But that’s not all. Jesse Eisenberg’s 2022 Sundance hit had a huge presence at Cannes Film Festival. When You Finish Saving the World — also acquired by A24 opened Critics’ Week, the special Cannes parallel section organized by The French Union of Film Critics dedicated to discovering new directors. The 61st annual special section consists of 11 features and 13 shorts.       

In 2019, director Shaunak Sen received a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund for All That Breathes, in addition to support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. His film would go on to receive the Grand Jury Prize Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and later premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. The documentary, which follows two brothers who devote their lives to care for the black kites of Delhi, has been well-received by audiences around the world.  

“The initial aspiration of the film was to do something which makes us think about the city, which makes us think about evolutionary changes, ecology, pollution, all of that — through a poetic and analytical lens — while being anchored in the emotional life of the brothers,” said Sen during the film’s post-screening Q&A at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival back in January.

Shaunak Sen accepts the World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary for ‘All That Breathes.’

“The humdrum, everyday life of the brothers becomes an anchorpoint and the emotional goal of the film, where we keep jumping to these bigger, zoomed-out things. Their perspective enriches what we see of the city. Over time, I realized that the rhythm had been moving from compression to full decompression, and that became kind of an editing logic,” he explained.   

 Sundance alum Charlotte Wells received support from both of Sundance Institute’s 2020 Screenwriters Labs, as well as the Directors Lab for her film Aftersun, about a young father forced to confront his disconnect with his 11-year-old daughter during a week’s holiday in the Mediterranean. 

As a Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Lab fellow, Wells participated in a rigorous schedule of advisor presentations, scene analysis sessions, directing exercises, one-on-one meetings, and collaborative conversations across a wide range of industry disciplines that helped propel the film

Supporting independent artists early on in their projects is a crucial part of Sundance Institute’s mission. From the beginning of the filmmaking process, to Cannes Film Festival and soon, to screens around the world, these films through their own unique styles help display the impact Sundance Institute has on the filmmakers and projects they support. 

As we anxiously await for A24 to announce release dates for When You Finish Saving the World and Aftersun, as well as HBO Max to announce All That Breathes, we’re reminded that all successful artists start somewhere, and when given the right support and foundation to build off of, they simply thrive. 

Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program Stands By Navajo Code Talkers and The Art of Native Storytelling

Sundance Institute and the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program looked with sadness and dismay at yesterday’s White House ceremony meant to commemorate the unprecedented contributions of America’s Navajo Code Talkers. The event unfolded in a disrespectful tone that bears attention.
The hundreds of Native American Code Talkers who served in World War I and II deserve our undying gratitude and respect, and today we offer that to them and all veterans from the far reaches of America, including Indian Country, where Native people have served this country in every war in its history.

Read More »
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NEA Proposed Cuts

Sundance Institute vigorously supports the National Endowment for the Arts, and calls upon our country’s leadership to do the same. NEA support played a crucial role in launching Sundance Institute in 1981 and has helped thousands of museums, arts programs and organizations. The NEA plays a critical role in building a culture that values artists and understands the important economic benefits of investing in the arts.

Read More »

Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program Stands By Navajo Code Talkers and The Art of Native Storytelling

Sundance Institute and the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program looked with sadness and dismay at yesterday’s White House ceremony meant to commemorate the unprecedented contributions of America’s Navajo Code Talkers. The event unfolded in a disrespectful tone that bears attention.
The hundreds of Native American Code Talkers who served in World War I and II deserve our undying gratitude and respect, and today we offer that to them and all veterans from the far reaches of America, including Indian Country, where Native people have served this country in every war in its history.

Read More »

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Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program Stands By Navajo Code Talkers and The Art of Native Storytelling

Sundance Institute and the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program looked with sadness and dismay at yesterday’s White House ceremony meant to commemorate the unprecedented contributions of America’s Navajo Code Talkers. The event unfolded in a disrespectful tone that bears attention.
The hundreds of Native American Code Talkers who served in World War I and II deserve our undying gratitude and respect, and today we offer that to them and all veterans from the far reaches of America, including Indian Country, where Native people have served this country in every war in its history.

Default missing

NEA Proposed Cuts

Sundance Institute vigorously supports the National Endowment for the Arts, and calls upon our country’s leadership to do the same. NEA support played a crucial role in launching Sundance Institute in 1981 and has helped thousands of museums, arts programs and organizations. The NEA plays a critical role in building a culture that values artists and understands the important economic benefits of investing in the arts.

Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program Stands By Navajo Code Talkers and The Art of Native Storytelling

Sundance Institute and the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program looked with sadness and dismay at yesterday’s White House ceremony meant to commemorate the unprecedented contributions of America’s Navajo Code Talkers. The event unfolded in a disrespectful tone that bears attention.
The hundreds of Native American Code Talkers who served in World War I and II deserve our undying gratitude and respect, and today we offer that to them and all veterans from the far reaches of America, including Indian Country, where Native people have served this country in every war in its history.

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