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Tabitha Jackson Named Sundance Film Festival Director

John Cooper will transition to newly-created role of emeritus director

The Sundance Institute has named Tabitha Jackson as the new director of the Sundance Film Festival.

John Cooper, who has served in the role for the last 11 years, will become emeritus director, a newly-created role.

Jackson has served as director of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program for the last six years. Now, she will oversee the Festival’s overall vision and strategy, while leading a senior team in close collaboration with Director of Programming, Kim Yutani. Cooper will shepherd special projects, including preparations for the Institute’s 40th anniversary in 2021.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce, Tabitha Jackson, as the new Director of the Sundance Film Festival,” Sundance Institute’s Executive Director, Keri Putnam, said. “Tabitha is fiercely devoted to independent artists, has been a visionary member of the Sundance Institute’s leadership team for the last 6 years. Her authenticity, experience and perspective will serve her well in leading the Festival forward as a beacon for independent artists and audiences.”

“I founded Sundance Institute with the clear mission of celebrating and supporting independent artists and the Festival is the platform where we can showcase their stories,” Sundance Institute founder, Robert Redford, said in a statement. “As we approach our fortieth anniversary, I’m pleased to have Tabitha lead us as we move into the future and meet the next generation of artists and their stories.”

Prior to joining the Institute in 2013, Jackson served as head of arts and performance at Channel 4 Television in London.

“It is exciting to be amplifying the voices and work of independent artists in these challenging and fast-changing times,” Jackson said. “My role, working with a team at the top of their game, will be to ensure that the festival remains as effective, vital and transformational in the years going forward as it has been in the past — and to make sure that we have fun doing it. I can’t wait to get started.”