The Sundance Institute has found its replacement executive director following the departure nearly one year ago of Ken Brecher.
Former Miramax production president Keri Putnam has been hired to fill the second most senior role at the Institute after founder and president Robert Redford. Brecher left in April 2009 and had served as executive director since 1996.
Based in Los Angeles, Putnam is expected to start her new position in mid-April and brings all the experience of a career spent developing, producing and acquiring quality independent cinema to to the role. She reports directly to the Institute’s board of trustees.
As executive director she will oversee all Institute programmes, including the Sundance Film Festival, Feature Film Programme, Documentary Film Programme, Film Music Programme, Theatre Programme, and Native and Indigenous Programme.
She will also be responsible for continuing the Institute’s international work, initiating strategic partnerships, cultivating relationships with foundations and corporate sponsors, and growing the Institute’s annual operating budget.
“In the spirit of moving forward with new ideas and a fresh approach in the environment that surrounds us, Keri’s appointment reflects the new direction in which Sundance Institute is headed,” Redford, who made the announcement with chairman of the board Wally Weisman, said.
“Throughout my career I have witnessed the breadth and impact of the many programmes of Sundance Institute, and I am both thrilled and privileged to become a part of this organisation’s leading work,” Putnam said.
“Sundance is truly unique not only for its mission but for its entire culture, brand and influence. This is an incredible opportunity for me personally and there is also tremendous potential for all of us – staff, trustees, alumni and friends alike – to explore new opportunities and expand on our global reputation.”
During Putnam’s tenure at Miramax the company won or was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including the best picture win for the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men and multiple nominee Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell And The Butterfly.
She has worked closely with international artists with a particular emphasis on discovering new talent, and has worked with a myriad of Sundance Institute alumni including Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane), Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project), Taika Waititi (Eagle Vs Shark), and Allison Anders (Mi Vida Loca).
Prior to joining Miramax in 2006, Putnam rose through the ranks at HBO Films to become executive vice president and supervised Gus van Sant’s Palme d’Or winner Elephant as well as Emmy winners such as The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers, Something The Lord Made, and The Girl In The Cafe.