About

About the Sundance Film Festival

In 2021, we will offer an online platform featuring seven days of premieres, events, artist talks, and cutting-edge XR exhibitions. We will also be partnering with independent cinema communities across the U.S. and beyond to safely host in-person events. From January 28 through February 3, adventurous audiences and indie film lovers everywhere will come together to be the first to discover and celebrate the bold, creative visions and exciting new talent that people will be talking about all year.

Get more details and set up your new Festival account at festival.sundance.org.

Programming Team

Meet the team that brings the best in indie storytelling to audiences at the Festival and around the world each year.

  • Tabitha Jackson – award-winning commissioning editor, director, producer and writer – who believes passionately in the arts as a public good, is the Director of the Sundance Film Festival. With more than 25 years of experience in the field of arts and nonfiction film, she has previously served as the Director of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute, as well as head of Arts and Performance at Channel 4 Television in London before joining the Sundance team.

    In 2013, Jackson was appointed Director of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute with a mission to champion the power of artful nonfiction cinema in the culture and to support a more expansive set of makers and forms. In supporting such work, she and her team encouraged the diverse exchange of ideas by artists as a critical pathway to developing an open society. Also while in the role, she launched and led a new pillar of work at the Institute - Impact, Engagement and Advocacy – with the goal of reasserting the role of the independent artist as a dynamic progressive cultural force.

    Prior to joining the Sundance Institute, Jackson worked at Channel 4 to support independent and alternative voices and find fresh and innovative ways of storytelling. She executive produced a number of projects for the UK’s Film 4 including Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film, Clio Barnard’s The Arbor, Sophie Fiennes’ The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollards’ 20,000 Days on Earth. Jackson was drawn to these filmmakers, along with many others, because of their use of innovative cinematic storytelling to challenge accepted orthodoxies, and, as a result, revealing a little more of the human condition.

  • John Cooper has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and assumed the role of Festival Director in April of 2009 after serving as the Sundance Film Festival's Director of Programming since 2003. In January 2020, Cooper stepped into the role of Emeritus Director.

    His early work in theater, ranging from performance to design, took him to New York City. By chance, he volunteered at the Institute's Summer Labs in 1989 and fell in love with the process and energy of Sundance. He returned to California to become part of the Festival programming team, which at that time consisted of two people. In the Festival's early years, Cooper created the short film program and quickly transitioned into programming documentaries and feature films.

    In recent years, he took the lead in developing the Institute's online presence, which has garnered two Webby Awards. As Festival Director, he oversaw creative direction of the Festival and had final decision on all films and events.
    Other work includes guest curator or juror at major film festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 Cooper served as Programming Director of Outfest, a Los Angeles festival held annually in July, and until 2002 served on the Outfest Board of Directors.

  • Kim Yutani began programming short films at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. In 2009, she became a feature film programmer, focusing on US and international fiction feature films, overseeing short film programming, and working on the Festival’s Offscreen series of panels and conversations. She was instrumental in the creation of Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong, which she also programs. During her tenure at the Institute, she has represented Sundance internationally by serving on juries, speaking on panels, and working to cultivate relationships with film commissions, industry, and artists around the world. For the past five years, she has also overseen a new collaboration with the Berlinale’s European Film Market – housed within the Sundance Film Festival at EFM program – which has provided exposure and sales opportunities for Sundance films, immediately after premiering at the Festival. She started her programming career at Outfest Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading LGBT festivals, where she was the Artistic Director and the Director of Programming. She is currently a programming consultant for the Provincetown International Film Festival. She has been a reader for Creative Capital and is on the short film nominating committee for Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. Prior to her film festival work, Yutani was a film critic and freelance journalist focusing on independent film. She got her start in the industry as director Gregg Araki’s assistant. She was recently named an A100 Honoree on Gold House’s list of the most influential Asian Americans in culture.

  • Shari joined the programming team in 1998 and currently focuses on American and World Cinema dramatic features, as well as films that experiment and push the boundaries of conventional storytelling. She is also the curator and driving creative force behind New Frontier at Sundance, a program highlighting work that expands cinema culture through the convergence of film, art and new media technology.

    As Co-Director of Programming for Outfest from 1998-2001, she founded the Platinum section, which introduced cinematic installation and performance to the festival. From 1993-1996, Frilot served as Festival Director of MIX: The New York Experimental Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. During that time, she also co-founded the first gay Latin American film festivals, MIX BRASIL and MIX MÉXICO. Shari is a filmmaker and recipient of multiple grants from institutions including the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Media Arts Foundation. She is a graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe & the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

  • John deals primarily with programming feature films for the Festival’s World Cinema and U.S. Dramatic categories. He also programs the Offscreen series of panels and conversations at the Festival, which he has done since joining the Sundance team in 2001. He also heads up the Sundance Collection at UCLA, a groundbreaking archive that exists to protect, preserve, and restore past works of independent film. After growing up in Europe and the United States, John studied history at Carleton College and was a graduate student in UCLA’s Film Directing program, where he made several award-winning short films and lobbied tirelessly for better coffee in the vending machines. He attended his first Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and found its energy infectious. He has been to every festival since. He is also the curator for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ popular film culture conversation series Lost & Found at the Movies.
  • Charlie started working with the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 as the assistant to the Director of Programming, and has programed feature-length films for the past six years. He also led programming of film, music and comedy at Sundance NEXT Fest. Prior to Sundance, Charlie worked in publicity at Entertainment Tonight, marketing at Tartan Films U.S.A, acquisitions at Paramount Vantage and his mom’s picture frame gallery. He moved to Southern California in 2001 from Dallas, TX to study film & television at the University of Southern California and Chapman University.

  • Heidi Zwicker is a Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, focusing on international and U.S. Narrative Feature Films, Midnight and Shorts. She has been contributing to various Sundance Institute programs for over ten years, beginning with the Feature Film Program, International. Heidi was a Programmer at Palm Springs International Shortfest from 2011-2014 and also programs at the Provincetown International Film Festival. Originally from the north shore of Boston, she has a degree in English from University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth and an M.A. in Critical Studies of Film and Television from UCLA.

  • Adam started at Sundance in 2005 as Manager of Programming, overseeing the selection process for nearly 14,000 film, episodic, and VR submissions that the Festival receives annually. Additionally, he lends his passion for cult and genre filmmaking to the programming of the Festival’s Midnight section, electing to spend the majority of his nights engrossed in all varieties of horror, thrillers, and off-color comedies. Adam also uses his past experience in television development to programming the Festival’s newest program, Indie Episodic. Prior to joining the Institute, he spent five years at Imagine Entertainment, where he worked on shows such as Arrested Development and 24. He is a firm believer that filmmakers are under no obligation to stick to any previously-established rules with regards to zombies, vampires, werewolves or Frankenstein.

  • Harry Vaughn is a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, specializing in US and World documentary features. He's worked for Sundance's Catalyst Forum and the institute's Feature Film Program, where he began his career in 2011 as an intern. Aside from his work at Sundance, Harry is a consulting programmer for Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, and was previously a senior programmer for Outfest Los Angeles. He also assisted in programming and coordinating NewFest in New York and Outfest Fusion. He holds a Master’s degree in Arts Journalism from the University of Southern California and is a Los Angeles native.

  • Sudeep is a Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival focusing on documentary feature films. Having started at Sundance in 2008 as a screener of international documentary features for the festival and a reader for the labs, he has previously been an Associate Programmer, Documentaries and Shorts Programmer. He has also worked in programing at many festivals including the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Palm Springs International ShortFest, Aspen ShortsFest, LA Film Festival, AFI Fest, Tribeca, Indian Kaleidoscope Film Festival and was Director of Public Programming for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science. A native of New Jersey, Sudeep has a BA in English from George Washington University, MA and Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA and has taught film and television courses at universities throughout Southern California.

  • Ania Trzebiatowska is a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, focusing on US and World documentary features. Most recently, she was the Sales & Acquisitions Executive for doc sales agency, Autlook Filmsales. Prior to that she was with the NYC-based agency, Visit Films, where she served as Senior Director of Acquisitions since 2015. Aside from her work at Sundance, Ania is also the artistic director of Off Camera IFF (Krakow, Poland), which she has been programming since 2008. She trained in production and post-production at the BBC and the British Museum, and holds a Master’s degree in film studies as well as an M.A in Digital Culture and Technology.

  • Dilcia Barrera is a Feature Film Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.

    Since 2007, Dilcia has worked for numerous film festivals including a tenure as a Sundance Film Festival Shorts Programmer, Senior Programmer at AFI FEST and has collaborated with OUTFEST, LAFF and The Philadelphia Film Festival. Most recently, she was the Associate Curator of Film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and was invited to curate the return edition of LALIFF (The Los Angeles Latino Film Festival) and two new short film categories for NYFF54 (New York Film Festival). She has served on international film festival juries at the Berlin International Film Festival and SXSW and in 2016 was named one of "IndieWire’s 20 Latin Americans Making a Difference for American Independent Film Today."

  • Born in Brazil, Ana Souza was partially raised in Amsterdam. She holds a B.A. from the University of Warwick, England and an M.A. from the University of Southern California. She joined Sundance initially as the assistant to the Director of Programming under Trevor Groth. In addition to her work supporting the Programming department at Sundance, she has programmed for AFI FEST and the LA Film Festival. She has also worked in various capacities for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Outfest, Ambulante California, and NALIP’s Latino Media Fest, among others. She has been a programming fellow for Film Independent’s Project Involve and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Industry Academy.

  • Stephanie Owens is new to the Sundance programming team. She started screening for the festival in 2016. She is also a programmer for the LA Film Festival, and has worked with POV, Palm Springs International ShortFest and WIF. She loves films, and documentaries especially. In fact, when she’s not watching documentaries for festivals, she’s chipping away at her first feature documentary project. Owens earned her BA in Studio Art from the University of Virginia and MFA in Art and Film/ Video from CalArts.

  • Working as a film programmer and projectionist since 1993, Mike Plante is currently a Senior Programmer for Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival, where he has worked since 2001. He helped run CineVegas from 2002-2009. Plante also makes short and feature documentaries, including Be Like An Ant (2011), Giuseppe Makes A Movie (2014) and The Polaroid Job (2016), available on the New York Times Op-Doc series.

  • Katie has been a Shorts Programmer at Sundance since 2010 and previously worked in short film distribution for Future Shorts and event production for Vimeo and Punchdrunk in New York. She is currently Video Commissioner for global video platform NOWNESS in London, commissioning editorial films and also overseeing short form content for fashion, design, tech & culture brands.

  • Lisa Ogdie is a Shorts Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and also Membership & Talent Development Manager for BAFTA Los Angeles. She has been part of the Sundance shorts programming team since 2009, selecting the Sundance short film slate from over 8,000 submissions, and has moderated Q&A discussions and panels for BAFTA Los Angeles, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes.

  • Adam Piron (Kiowa & Mohawk) is a member of the Sundance Film Festival’s Short Film programming team and is the assistant curator for film at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He has also programmed films for AFI Fest and Film Independent's LA Film Festival. From 2014 to 2017, he served as a Manager for Sundance Institute's Native American and Indigenous Film Program.

  • Landon Zakheim is a Shorts Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, Director of Programming for the Aspen ShortsFest, Senior Programmer for the Philadelphia Film Festival, Head Shorts Programmer for the LA Film Festival, Interactive Curator for the Denver Film Festival, and the Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Overlook Film Festival, a 4-day celebration of all things horror with a focus on live events and interactive experiences currently held in New Orleans. From 2013 - 2015, he programmed at AFI FEST. He enjoys escape rooms, perhaps too much.

  • DaManuel Richardson is a writer, producer, and programmer born and raised near Atlanta, Georgia. He was lured to Hollywood in 2013 to study filmmaking at California Institute of the Arts and subsequently worked as a coordinator for the Director of Sundance Film Festival. In 2018 DaManuel became the newest member of the Sundance short film programming team. He also serves on the selection committee for Sundance Catalyst and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. He currently works in television as a showrunner's assistant while still finding time for indie producing on the side. In his spare time, DaManuel enjoys working in his community garden in Los Angeles.

Awards & Juries

The culmination of the Sundance Film Festival is our awards ceremony. Winning a Festival award can be life changing for a filmmaker and can bring attention to the impactful stories that might not have otherwise reached wider audiences. Films in both the documentary and dramatic competition categories are eligible for a variety of prestigious awards bestowed by our juries, made up of individuals with original and diverse points of view from the worldwide film community. In addition, we invite audiences to vote for their favorites with five Audience Awards—given to one film in each of the four competition categories and the NEXT category—as well as the Festival Favorite Award, chosen from any feature category.

  • U.S. Grand Jury Prizes
    The ranking award is the Grand Jury Prize, which recognizes a film in both the U.S. Dramatic and U.S. Documentary Competitions as the best from the independent film community this year.

    World Cinema Grand Jury Prizes
    The highest award for international films, the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize recognizes the best dramatic and documentary work in international independent filmmaking this year.

    Directing Award
    The Directing Award honors directors in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition.

    Special Jury Awards
    Jurors give a number of Special Jury Awards recognizing excellence in the craft of filmmaking. Inspired by the Art of Film Weekend, these prizes are chosen by their respective juries as they deem appropriate. The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award will still be given given to a U.S. Dramatic film for excellence in screenwriting.

    Audience Awards
    Audience Awards are chosen by Festivalgoers themselves through ballots cast at the theaters after screenings. Audience Awards are presented to films in the Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, and NEXT categories.

    The U.S. Dramatic and Documentary Competition Audience Awards are presented by Acura.

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    The NEXT Audience Award is presented by Adobe.

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    Festival Favorite Award
    All feature films presented at the Festival are eligible for the Festival Favorite Award, which will be determined by audience ballots across all Festival screenings. Similar to the Festival’s long-standing Audience Awards for each competition section, this award will designate the feature film from any of the Festival’s sections that best connects with audiences.

    NEXT Innovator Award
    This award recognizes the most innovative and forward-thinking film screened in the NEXT category. The prize is awarded by an iconic figure regarded as an important innovator in their respective field. This single juror will choose one film that they believe to be the most innovative.

    The NEXT Innovator Award is presented by Adobe.

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    Sundance Institute/NHK Award
    This annual award was created to support the next generation of emerging directors.

    Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
    Provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this juried award is presented to the writer and director of an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.

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    Jury Prizes and Awards in Short Filmmaking
    The following prizes and awards are bestowed on short films in the Festival that exemplify outstanding vision and creativity in their respective categories:

    • Short Film Grand Jury Prize
    • Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
    • Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
    • Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction
    • Short Film Jury Award: Animation
    • Short Film Special Jury Awards

    The Short Film Program Awards are presented by Southwest Airlines®.

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    Awards produced by O. C. Tanner

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

  • 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jurors will be announced in January, 2021

Community Agreement

The Sundance Institute supports bold, creative, independent art and artists.

Our spaces and events encourage the open exchange of ideas and perspectives with a freely flowing discourse anchored in mutual respect. Robust and inclusive debate is intrinsic to our community values and we encourage all festival goers to follow the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

We hold steadfast in our commitment to freedom of creative expression while simultaneously lifting up anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-discriminationatory practices in all areas of the Sundance Institute Community. We strive to protect community members from conduct that is inappropriate, disruptive, abusive, or threatening.

Therefore, we ask that everyone in the Festival community—artists, audiences, volunteers, press, industry, staff, and beyond—does their part in creating an environment that is welcoming to all by committing to being:

  • Inclusive and respectful of people of every race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, age, physical appearance and body size, language spoken, and immigration or economic status
  • Intentional with your words by abstaining from hate speech or actions of any kind, including the abuse of chat functions (ex. trolling)
  • Mindful of the personal space and boundaries of others by avoiding unwelcome sexual attention, harassment, stalking, and inappropriate physical contact of any kind
  • Respectful of moderators, artists, and audience members by refraining from sustained disruption of screenings, sessions, talks, or other events
  • Conscious of the power you hold by not engaging in abuse or intimidation including that related to race, gender, position, or wealth,
  • Considerate of the work of artists by refraining from phishing and pirating the work of Sundance filmmakers

If you experience or witness any inappropriate conduct, you can report it via one of the following methods and a member of the Safety & Belonging Team will respond as soon as possible, no later than 12 hours.

  • Alert a Sundance Institute Customer Service rep by using the chat button on every web page
  • Text CONDUCT to 1-833-500-0420
  • Send an email to conduct@sundance.org
  • Complete the name-optional conduct reporting form that can be found here

All incidents that violate our commitment to one another will be subject to an immediate and equitable review process. Click here for more on that process, as well as our Community Commitments.