Keri Putnam stepping down as Sundance Institute CEO

Keri Putnam is stepping down as CEO of the Sundance Institute after more than decade. “After 10 deeply rewarding years, I have decided that it is the right time for me ...
March 25, 2021

Keri Putnam is stepping down as CEO of the Sundance Institute after more than decade.

“After 10 deeply rewarding years, I have decided that it is the right time for me to step down as CEO of the Sundance Institute,” Putnam wrote in a letter today (March 25). “Leading this incredible organization through a volatile era in media with the help of such a passionate and talented group of colleagues, artists, audiences, board members, partners, friends, and donors has been one of the greatest joys of my life. As I work with the team and the Board of Trustees to prepare for my departure at the end of this summer, I am confident that Sundance is thriving and poised to begin a transformative new era,”

“I’m excited to explore my next chapter over the coming months, pursuing new adventures and opportunities. Most of all, I look forward to being part of this community of supporters cheering on the Sundance Institute and its important work for years to come.”

As CEO, Putnam has overseen the Institute’s annual Sundance Film Festival, as well as its year-round programs including signature residential labs, workshops, direct granting, strategic and educational resources, as well as ongoing mentorship.

Since joining the Sundance Institute in 2010, Putnam has launched international festivals and labs in countries including China, India, the UK and Morocco; initiated new programs to support artists working in episodic content, new media, and short-form; launched an expanded creative producing initiative to support finance, marketing and distribution of independent work; and built several new initiatives to foster outreach and diversity in independent film, including the Women at Sundance program.

Prior to joining Sundance, the industry veteran was president of production at Miramax, a division of the Walt Disney Company, where she oversaw acquisitions, development, production, post-production and production finance.

Before that, Putnam spent the first 15 years at HBO, starting as an assistant in original programming and ending as EVP of movies and miniseries overseeing that creative team.

Board of Trustees chair Pat Mitchell and vice-chair Ebs Burnough will co-chair a search committee to identify Sundance Institute’s next chief executive.

“As a fierce supporter of independent creators, Keri has been instrumental in seeing the Institute through a decade of transformation, while keeping a laser-focus on Sundance’s mission of preserving, discovering, incubating and encouraging independent artistry in all forms,” said founder and president of Sundance Institute Robert Redford in a statement. “We cannot overstate her impact, and we thank Keri for her invaluable service in support of independent artists.”

“Under Keri’s leadership, Sundance forged new partnerships across the industry and beyond,” Mitchell added. “She helped build a diverse, world-class team, and invested in leadership at all levels, from staff to the Board. As a result, the Institute is stronger than ever, and poised to leverage this exciting moment to continue its invaluable work on behalf of independent artists in the U.S. and around the world. We are grateful that Keri will be staying on in her role through the end of our fiscal year.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.