Joana Vicente Resigns as CEO of Sundance Institute, Amanda Kelso Steps In

Short Summary:

Joana Vicente is stepping down as CEO of Sundance Institute after over two years, with Amanda Kelso set to take over as acting CEO. Vicente led significant initiatives during her tenure, including bringing Sundance back in-person post-pandemic and expanding its global footprint. Kelso, a trustee and previous acting CEO, will oversee the Institute’s comprehensive programs and future strategy.
Sundance Film Festival
United States (USA)

Sundance Institute announced a significant change in its leadership on Friday, revealing that Joana Vicente will resign from her position as CEO after more than two years of service. Amanda Kelso, a trustee of the Institute with a history of involvement in various capacities, will resume the role of acting CEO.

Vicente's departure marks the end of a notable period of leadership during which she oversaw the transition of the Sundance Film Festival back to in-person events following the COVID-19 pandemic. Her efforts also included the creation of new funding opportunities aimed at supporting underrepresented storytellers and the expansion of Sundance's presence globally, with new festival editions in Asia and Mexico City.

During her tenure, Vicente emphasized the importance of championing independent storytellers and the significant achievements of the Sundance team in amplifying their voices. Her leadership spanned a critical time for the film industry, addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic and spearheading initiatives to sustain and expand support for artists globally.

Amanda Kelso, returning as acting CEO, brings a wealth of experience from her previous roles within the Institute and her professional background at the intersection of storytelling and technology. Kelso's return is seen as a strategic move to guide Sundance through its next phase of growth and innovation. She has been actively involved in the digital festival task force and has contributed to strategic decisions through her roles on the technology and finance committees.

As acting CEO, Kelso will lead a year-round staff of 165, along with additional seasonal staff, overseeing all areas of the Institute, including the Sundance Film Festival and various artist programs. She has expressed her commitment to nurturing Sundance's mission-based work and connecting independent artists with global audiences.

This leadership transition comes at a time when Sundance continues to adapt and evolve in response to the shifting landscape of the film industry and the broader cultural context. The Institute remains focused on supporting independent filmmakers and ensuring the continued success and impact of its programs.

The next edition of the Sundance Film Festival is scheduled to run from January 23 to February 2, 2025, with discussions ongoing regarding the festival's future venue options. As Sundance navigates these changes, the contributions of Vicente and the anticipated leadership of Kelso are seen as pivotal in steering the Institute towards new horizons of artistic innovation and storytelling excellence.