The Sundance Institute has announced it is cutting 24 positions in Los Angeles, New York, and Park City. Some staff will move to reduced schedules with greatly reduced seasonal staff budgets.
Sundance Institute COO and Executive Director Keri Putnam provided details of the decision to cut approximately 13% of their staff in response to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs come as the organization lays out its plans to spread out the annual Sundance Film Festival, which brings thousands of people to Park City yearly, over multiple cities.
Putnam says the immediate impact of the virus didn’t affect Sundance as much as many nonprofits due to the timing of the film festival, which ended before concerns about the virus’s spread rose in the U.S.However due to the projected shortfalls in contributions and ticket sales, the organization has cut executive salaries and department budgets across the board and have moved all in-person events to virtual platforms.
The Sundance Institute is anticipating deep economic impacts for the foreseeable future while holding to their mission of supporting independent artists and maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion. Details of the restructuring efforts can be found in the full letter.
Putnam’s letter outlines the severance packages the organization will provide for those who are laid off. Continued cuts in higher compensated job levels and changes to benefits packages are expected as well.
As KPCW reported Tuesday, Sundance Film Festival Executive Director Tabitha Jackson revealed that the 2021 Sundance Film Festival would take place in 20 cities worldwide.