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Sundance Institute Announces Film Festival Veteran as New CEO

Sundance Institute

The Sundance Institute announced its new CEO Wednesday morning.


Joana Vicente will officially take over the reins of the Sundance Institute from departing CEO Keri Putnam on November 1st.


Putnam announced in March that she would be stepping down as CEO after 11 years at the helm of the organization.


Vicente is no stranger to the film festival world, spending the past three years as the executive director and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival. Prior to her time in Toronto, Vicente was the executive director of the Gotham Film & Media Institute, formerly known as the Independent Filmmaker Project.


Vicente also has a past relationship with Sundance, producing four projects supported by the institute since 1994. Vicente’s 1999 film Three Seasons also won the Audience Award, Cinematography Award, and Grand Jury Prize at that year’s Sundance Film Festival.


Co-chairs of the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees Pat Mitchell and Ebs Burnough said in a statement “Joana will be a strong advocate for independent voices and advance the Sundance Institute’s historic commitment to inclusion and equity. She will build on the institute’s vision that embraces the evolving future of storytelling and our support of visionary artists with distinct voices in film, theater, film composing, episodic storytelling, and emerging media.”


Vicente will oversee the Institute’s operations at its offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Park City, where the Sundance Film Festival has been held since 1981.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.