After hiring veteran festival programmer Kim Yutani to lead its programming team, the Sundance Film Festival has now announced a brand new batch of further programming hires. Yutani, who was previously a senior programmer for the festival and has worked at Sundance since 2006, was hired in May for the Director of Programming job left vacant by long-time programming head Trevor Groth earlier this year. The long-time programmer has now rounded out her team with a number of fresh faces, while also elevating some Sundance stalwarts.
Yutani commented in an official statement, “This year’s record-breaking number of submissions are phenomenally strong: we’re invigorated and inspired by the work we’ve been seeing. Our incredible — and growing! — programming team has refined our curation processes, ensuring that the conversations we have as we program continue to center, as always, on a Festival that represents a wide range of filmmakers and on-screen experiences. We’re also continually evolving our process to incorporate data and research findings.”
The 2019 Festival, which will announces its first batch of programming picks on November 28, will showcase work drawn from over 14,200 submissions, a record high for the festival.
The new hires impact both the programming and screeners team, “with an eye towards fresh perspectives and varied decision-making voices.” Dilcia Barrera joins as Programmer, Stephanie Owens as Associate Programmer, Sudeep Sharma as Shorts Programmer, and Ana Souza (formerly a Programming Coordinator) has been promoted to Manager, Programming / Associate Programmer. With these new additions, women comprise half of the Sundance Film Festival programming team.
Elsewhere, Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program, will program a strand of panels under programmer John Nein.
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival Programming Team, led by John Cooper (director) and Kim Yutani (Director of Programming) is:
Senior Programmers: David Courier, Shari Frilot (Chief Curator, New Frontier), Caroline Libresco (Director of Catalyst and Women at Sundance), John Nein, Mike Plante, Charlie Sextro
Programmers: Dilcia Barrera, Hussain Currimbhoy, Harry Vaughn, Heidi Zwicker
Associate Programmers: Adam Montgomery (Senior Manager, Programming), Lauren Cioffi, Stephanie Owens, Ana Souza (Manager, Programming)
Shorts Programmers: Emily Doe, Jon Korn, Lisa Odgie, Adam Piron, Sudeep Sharma, Landon Zakheim
DaManuel Richardson, Assistant to Director of the Sundance Film Festival & Coordinator, Public Programs
O’Shea Myles, Assistant to Director of Programming
The festival has also announced further details about its Press Inclusion Initiative, and is working to “expand the ranks of attending critics, as well as renovating its own processes. For the first time ever, applicants for currently-underway press accreditation are being asked to provide demographic information. The team has further committed to allocating a minimum of 20% of top-tier press passes to critics from underrepresented communities — that is, women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities — in order to enrich the critical discourse.”
This year’s festival runs January 24 – February 3 in Park City, Utah.