Citing the 40.6 degree of latitude shared between Park City, UT and Brooklyn, NY, this afternoon Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute joined the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in announcing a collaboration dubbed, Creative Latitude: Sundance Institute at BAM. To mark the 25th anniversary of the Institute, the organization will present a dozen feature films from the upcoming Sundance festival along with a number of special programs at BAM in Brooklyn, the oldest continually operating performing arts center in the United States. The events will take place from May 11 – 20, 2006 with specific program details to be announced after this year’s Sundance fest. The news comes as Sundance prepares other special events for its 25th anniversary, including a film tour and two celebrations in New York City.
“Sundance is not just a festival,” Redford reminded the audience today during a luncheon at BAM, touting his Institute’s many other programs. “The meat of Sundance is about its development programs.” He likened the Institute to a baseball farm club for the major leagues, emphasizing the importance of its role in supporting diversity and adding that the Institute has been hoping to find a base in New York City. Given the reputation and independence of Brooklyn’s artistic community, Redford said, “This seemed like a wonderful place to create a home.”
Local Brooklyn political officials touted the announcement as recognition of the borough’s rich artistic community. Councilmember Leticia James quipped about Brookyn’s “latitude in our creative attitude,” while borough president Marty Markowitz used the occasion to try to lure Redford to shoot a future film project in the area and praised the borough as the “creative capital of New York City.”
Sundance Institute executive director Ken Brecher noted that so many independent filmmakers now live in the borough, “I don’t think that there would have been a (Sundance) festival last year without Brooklyn.” Guests included journalists, organization trustees, friends, and filmmakers, among them Steve Buscemi, “Down to the Bone‘s” Debra Granik, and creators of the upcoming Sundance dramatic competition entry “Half Nelson,” Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.
Redford and Brecher will unveil details of a special 25th Anniversary film tour, tied to the recent release of the Sundance Film Festival Collection DVD box set, during a press conference on the opening day of the Sundance Film Festival later this month. Teasing the news Thursday at the BAM luncheon, Brecher said that the upcoming tour would include stops in Nashville, TN, Ann Arbor, MI, and Orlando, FL, among other cities.
Creative Latitude: Sundance Institute at BAM will kick-off on May 11th with a special event hosted by Sundance Channel. A premiere screening of a new film will be followed by a party welcoming Sundance Institute alumni, while the following days will bring panel discussions, a script reading, a Sundance theater lab showcase, and an evening of film music.
Other events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Institute will include a 25h anniversary bash in New York City in November. Future collaborations between Sundance and BAM are also in the works, planners said Thursday.
Eugene Hernandez is the Editor-in-Chief of indieWIRE.