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Sundance: BAM Head Gina Duncan Joins in Newly Created Producing Director Role

Duncan is the latest big hire for the festival, which has been steadily reshaping its leadership lineup since the departure of former festival director John Cooper.

gina duncan bam

Gina Duncan


Sundance Institute today announced that Gina Duncan will join the Sundance Film Festival team in the newly-created role of producing director, reporting to festival director Tabitha Jackson and working closely with programming director Kim Yutani. Duncan is the latest big hire for the Utah festival which, earlier this month, tapped Carrie Lozano to head their documentary film program.

Per Sundance, as producing director, Duncan “will integrate the artistic vision of the festival with its practical, audience-facing elements. She’ll work with the programming team as they curate works for exhibition, and serve as a leader for creating strategic vision and decision-making on both the Sundance Film Festival and year-round public programs.” Further key duties for Duncan include “continuing to build policies and plans to develop and increase the inclusivity of the festival more broadly, and managing year-round engagement among the industry and artist communities.”

“Gina’s experience across the arts, industry, and festival space excited us,” said Jackson in an official statement, “as did her stellar reputation, innovative spirit, values-driven approach and transformational results. I can’t wait to partner with her and the rest of our incredible team on writing and producing the next chapter of Sundance Film Festival.”

Duncan added in her own statement, “I’m excited to join the Sundance team at this key inflection point, as they imagine such a pivotal Festival. It’s moments like these that invigorate not only creative programmers, but also enliven audiences who are ready to greet new and fresh approaches and ideas.”

Duncan most recently served as Vice President of Film and Strategic Programming at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where she created and implemented BAM’s artistic programming in film, archives, and humanities. She deployed those program streams to strengthen the institution’s mission, engage new audiences, and develop curatorial diversity. She led BAM’s film operations, guided first-run film and repertory programs, and oversaw the annual BAMcinemaFest.

When Duncan joined BAM in 2018, she told IndieWire about her mission as a leader in the film space. “My overall mission is to have a nimble, responsive, socially engaged film program,” she said at the time. “I take that really seriously as a woman of color.” Duncan’s first day will be September 28. She is expected to remain in New York for the foreseeable future.

Prior to BAM, Duncan was Director of Industry Engagement and Special Programs at Jacob Burns Film Center, where she managed programming planning, operations, and worked closely with JBFC board members Jonathan Demme and Janet Maslin on curating and implementing their respective film series. She is a member of the board of SPACE on Ryder Farm and the advisory board of Jacob Burns Film Center’s Creative Culture fellowship.

Earlier this summer, Sundance announced a series of layoffs and consolidations in reaction to the financial hits endured during the pandemic. While the organization announced it would be restructuring some of its labs and associated programs, the org has continued to support filmmakers through its grants, including its first-ever Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship and the yearlong Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellowship.

In August, the festival began to firm up plans for its 2021 edition, including shrinking the typically 10-day festival to seven days; it will now take place from January 28 to February 3. Newly installed festival director Tabitha Jackson in June revealed that the festival is planning for a range of scenarios when it comes to imagining what the event will look like during the global health crisis. That could include an online component, something that is looking increasingly likely for festivals that wait to remain relevant during the pandemic but are unable to host a normal level of on-the-ground activity.

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