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Tabitha Jackson to Depart Sundance Institute

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Kim Yutani Elevated to Institute Senior Leadership Team

LOS ANGELES, CA – Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente today announced that Tabitha Jackson, Director, Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming, will be leaving the Institute. Jackson will depart the nonprofit Institute shortly after the upcoming Sundance Film Festival: London. Vicente will lead the Festival’s development and planning in the interim, and a public search led by Vicente is underway for the Festival’s next director. 

Vicente also announced that Director of Programming Kim Yutani will join the senior leadership team of the Institute. Yutani, who joined the Festival in 2006, marks her fifth year leading the Festival’s programming. In addition to this work, she will now manage Festival industry and artist relations. Yutani will work closely with Vicente in the planning of the next Festival alongside senior programmers, John Nein, who also leads Strategic Initiatives, and Shari Frilot, who is also the Chief Curator, New Frontier.

Jackson joined the Institute in 2013 as the Director of the Documentary Film Program, where she oversaw the creation of new programs and resources that supported nonfiction filmmakers worldwide –  notably the Art of Nonfiction Initiative in which she worked with form-breaking filmmakers to create a program exploring the creative process by centering the artist rather than the project.  

In February 2020, Jackson was announced as Festival Director, succeeding John Cooper. She joined just as the pandemic hit and along with the leadership team redesigned the Festival for a new world. Under her leadership the past two Festivals saw new audiences coming together online to experience independent storytelling on the Festival’s custom-built digital platform, delivering Sundance’s most accessible Festival yet and connecting its artists with its largest audiences to date with a liveness that was important in absence of the physical gathering.

In addition to the new Festival platform, Sundance New Frontier innovated an artistic and social platform in the metaverse, and the festival also partnered with a network of independent arthouse organizations across the US for its Satellite Screen program. The 2021 Festival made Sundance history with a Best Picture win for CODA, and Best Documentary win for Summer of Soul at this year’s Academy Awards. 

“We are grateful to Tabitha and her contributions to the Sundance mission over the last eight and a half years as a leader at the organization. She helped lead the Sundance Film Festival through the ongoing pandemic, helping transform it for the future, all while keeping independent artists as our north star. There is no doubt that she has left her indelible imprint on the organization. She leaves us with the Festival never more vital than during this time of great change in our industry and in a place to continue to make a meaningful contribution to culture,” said Joana Vicente, CEO of Sundance Institute. “I look forward to leading the Festival in the interim and working more closely with Kim and our exceptional team of film programmers. The strength and experience of our existing Festival leadership and programming team means there is no shortage of talent to continue forward with the work we are doing for next year’s Festival.”

“Being part of driving forward the mission and purpose of the Sundance Institute has been a deep privilege and a profoundly meaningful part of my life,” said Jackson. “This incredible organization has only increased my unshakeable belief in artists as a transformative societal force and, in this complex and challenging historical moment, a force more necessary than ever. Going forward, working with and for artists and their freedom of creative expression will continue to be be my guiding light.”’

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Three women in blue waitress uniforms with white collars sitting side-by-side at a table or counter and in front of a window, showing daytime light through blinds. From left, a slightly smiling woman with dark-framed eyeglasses, with blond hair swept up in what appears to be a high ponytail and the nametag "Dawn"; another blond woman apparently speaking to the third woman, smiling and animated, nametag "Becky"; a woman with long, light brown hair, chin up as she listens to Becky, nametag is blocked by a metal water pitcher.

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Waitresses, from left, Dawn (Adrienne Shelly), Becky (Cheryl Hines), and Jenna (Keri Russell) share a conversation at the diner. By Vanessa Zimmer Adrienne Shelly was

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