In her new role, Vicente will oversee all areas of the Institute, including the annual Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
The Sundance Institute Board of Trustees has named Joana Vicente as its next CEO. She joins the Sundance Institute from Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where she spent three years as Executive Director and Co-Head.
Vicente succeeds CEO Keri Putnam, who stepped down earlier this year.
She will report to Sundance’s board of directors and work with key stakeholders, including artists, funders and industry donors, as well as lead a cadre of 200 year-round employees and an additional 250 seasonal staffers.
Vicente will begin her role at the start of November, working between the Institute’s Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City offices.
She will be responsible for setting strategies for the Institute that embrace the evolving future of storytelling and build on the Institute’s record of accomplishment in supporting visionary artists with distinct voices in film, theatre, film composing, episodic storytelling, and emerging media.
Board of Trustees Chair Pat Mitchell and Chair-Elect Ebs Burnough, who led the Search Committee, said: “This was a very comprehensive search to find the right person who would continue to move us forward with a vision that aligns with the founding values of the Institute’s founder, Robert Redford. The world’s storytellers are more connected than ever, and Joana’s international background is vital as we look to integrate ourselves with independent artists on an even greater scale globally. She comes to Sundance as a true champion of preserving, discovering, incubating, and encouraging independent artistry in all forms. She is a prolific independent producer in her own right with deep ties to Sundance. All that, combined with her history running a film festival, success in fundraising and partnerships, and her proven ability to navigate fundamental changes in technology and the ways in which audiences consume and experience content, makes us extremely confident that Joana will continue Sundance’s invaluable work on behalf of independent artists in the US and around the world.”
Robert Redford, Founder and President of Sundance Institute, added: “From the day we started the Sundance Institute, we have had a very specific mission to foster independence, risk-taking, and new and diverse voices in storytelling. Throughout her entire career, it is evident that Joana shares this same uncompromising vision, and we know that she possesses a deep understanding of the evolving landscape, and can reach a new generation of independent creators working more fluidly across disciplines, communicating across borders, and engaging directly with audiences.”
As the co-founder and president of Open City Films since 1994, she produced four Sundance-supported lab projects and has had 13 features and six short films debut at the Festival.
Vicente stated: “Sundance has been an essential part of my career — I feel that I grew up as a producer with the support of the Festival and the Sundance labs. It is such an extraordinary opportunity to lead an organisation that has defined independent storytelling for 40 years. This opportunity combines all of my passions: film, working with storytellers throughout the world, and leading mission-driven organisations. I have always felt that Sundance was a home for me, and this opportunity makes me feel as if I am going back home. As a producer, I know firsthand the incredible impact Sundance has on independent artists, and I look forward to working with Bob, the Sundance Board, and the amazing and dedicated teams at Sundance who continue to find new ways to discover, support, and inspire the most creative and diverse group of storytellers — not just in the United States, but all around the world. We are at a critical time for independent creators, and Sundance is poised to continue to be a beacon for storytellers throughout the world as they navigate the rough waters of our time.”
Prior to TIFF, Vicente spent nearly a decade at the Independent Filmmaker Project (now the Gotham Film & Media Institute), a not-for-profit organisation for independent directors.