Areas of focus: Oversees programming, Premieres
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 Director of Programming since 2003. 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. As Festival Director, he oversees creative direction of the Festival as well as its ventures in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. He previously led the development of the Institute's online presence, which garnered two Webby Awards. More recently, he worked to create IGNITE, a program to nurture a new generation of filmmakers and independent film enthusiasts ages 18 to 24. Cooper has been a guest curator and juror at major film festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 he was the Programming Director of Outfest and served on its Board of Directors until 2002.