About the Sundance Film Festival

Every winter in Utah, the Sundance Film Festival becomes the ultimate gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives. Our annual program includes dramatic and documentary features and short films; series and episodic content; and New Frontier, showcasing emerging media in the form of multimedia installations, performances, and films. We also host daily filmmaker conversations, panel discussions, and live music events. Since 1985, hundreds of films that have launched at the Festival have gained critical recognition and acclaim, reaching new audiences worldwide.

Programming Team

Meet the team that brings the best in indie storytelling to audiences at the Festival and around the world each year.

  • John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival

    Areas of focus: Oversees programming, Premieres

    John Cooper has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and assumed the role of Festival Director in April of 2009 after serving as the Director of Programming since 2003. His early work in theater, ranging from performance to design, took him to New York City. By chance, he volunteered at the Institute's Summer Labs in 1989 and fell in love with the process and energy of Sundance. He returned to California to become part of the Festival programming team, which at that time consisted of two people. In the Festival's early years, Cooper created the short film program and quickly transitioned into programming documentaries and feature films. As Festival Director, he oversees creative direction of the Festival as well as its ventures in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. He previously led the development of the Institute's online presence, which garnered two Webby Awards. More recently, he worked to create IGNITE, a program to nurture a new generation of filmmakers and independent film enthusiasts ages 18 to 24. Cooper has been a guest curator and juror at major film festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 he was the Programming Director of Outfest and served on its Board of Directors until 2002.

  • Kim Yutani, Director of Programming
  • David Courier, Senior Programmer
  • Shari Frilot, Senior Programmer and Chief Curator, New Frontier
  • Caroline Libresco, Senior Programmer and Director of Sundance Catalyst
  • John Nein, Senior Programmer
  • Charlie Sextro, Senior Programmer
  • Hussain Currimbhoy, Programmer
  • Heidi Zwicker, Programmer
  • Adam Montgomery, Senior Manager, Programming Dept. & Programmer
  • Harry Vaughn, Programmer
  • Lauren Cioffi, Associate Programmer
  • Stephanie Owens, Associate Programmer
  • Ana Souza, Manager, Programming Dept & Associate Programmer
  • Mike Plante, Senior Programmer, Short Film
  • Dilcia Barrera, Programmer
  • Emily Doe, Shorts Programmer
  • Ernesto Foronda, Shorts Programmer
  • Jon Korn, Shorts Programmer
  • Katie Metcalfe, Shorts Programmer
  • Lisa Ogdie, Shorts Programmer
  • Adam Piron, Shorts Programmer
  • Landon Zakheim, Shorts Programmer

Awards & Jury

The culmination of the Sundance Film Festival is our Awards Ceremony. Winning a Festival award can be life-changing for a filmmaker, and can bring attention to the impactful stories that might not have otherwise reached wider audiences. Films in both the documentary and dramatic competition categories are eligible for a variety of prestigious awards bestowed by our juries, made up of individuals with original and diverse points of view from the worldwide film community. In addition, we invite audiences to vote for their favorites with five Audience Awards—given to one film in each of the four competition categories and the NEXT category—as well as the Festival Favorite Award, chosen from any feature category.

Catch the live streams of all the awards ceremonies at sundance.org/live.