Sundance Institute announces new festival director

Tabitha Jackson. Photo Courtesy:

PARK CITY, Utah, Feb. 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Sundance Institute has announced Tabitha Jackson as the new director of the Sundance Film Festival.

Jackson was chosen from a worldwide search and follows outgoing director, John Cooper, who served in the role for 11 years and will assume a newly created emeritus director role, said a news release from the Sundance Institute.

Jackson has served as director of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program for the last six years. She will oversee the Festival’s overall vision and strategy, while leading a senior team in close collaboration with Kim Yutani, the director of programming.

In his new role, Cooper will oversee special projects including preparations for the Institute’s 40th anniversary in 2021.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce Tabitha Jackson as the new director of the Sundance Film Festival,” said Sundance Institute’s executive director, Keri Putnam. “Tabitha is fiercely devoted to independent artists and has been a visionary member of the Sundance Institute’s leadership team for the last six years. Her authenticity, experience and perspective will serve her well in leading the Festival forward as a beacon for independent artists and audiences.”

Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford also released a statement:

“I founded Sundance Institute with the clear mission of celebrating and supporting independent artists, and the Festival is the platform where we can showcase their stories,” he said. “As we approach our 40th anniversary, I’m pleased to have Tabitha lead us as we move into the future and meet the next generation of artists and their stories.”

Jackson has served as the director of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program since 2013, and in that time has overseen the creation of new programs and resources that support nonfiction filmmakers worldwide with an emphasis on expanding the art of non-fiction storytelling, the news release said. A focus of Jackson’s new role will be shaping the nonprofit Institute’s global public programming throughout the year– including Sundance Film Festivals in Hong Kong and London and a nationwide Short Film Tour– as well as leading the community of artists and audiences those programs serve.

Prior to joining the Institute, Jackson worked in arts and entertainment for more than 25 years as an award-winning filmmaker. Prior to joining the Institute in 2013, she served as Head of Arts and Performance at Channel 4 Television in London.

“It is exciting to be amplifying the voices and work of independent artists in these challenging and fast-changing times,” said Jackson. “My role, working with a team at the top of their game, will be to ensure that the festival remains as effective, vital and transformational in the years going forward as it has been in the past– and to make sure that we have fun doing it. I can’t wait to get started.”

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival received over 15,100 submissions from around the world, and featured over 200 new works.


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