Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper Steps Down

Jun 27, 2019

Credit Sundance Institute

The director of the Sundance Film Festival, John Cooper, is stepping aside, after 11 years in that role and after three decades on staff at Sundance.

In a press statement issued Thursday, the Sundance Institute announced the change for the man known to one and all as simply “Cooper.” The release said that after directing the 2020 Festival, he will move into a newly created emeritus director position, where he will focus on special projects and overseeing the 40th anniversary of the Sundance Institute in 2021.

During his tenure, Cooper led the way in creating the Short Film section of the Festival, as well as the Documentary Premieres, NEXT and New Frontier sections. He also helmed Sundance Festivals in London and Hong Kong.

Sundance’s CEO Keri Putnam will lead the search for a new director. In the statement, she said Cooper will be missed, “but then again, he will be right down the hall in this new capacity.”

Cooper was quoted in the statement as saying, “This journey has been exhilarating. I’ve been lucky to find my perfect job.” He commended his amazing staff, and the founding principles passed down by Robert Redford, and said he looks forward to remaining a part of the organization.