Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson Stepping Down After Two Years

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Tabitha Jackson is resigning her post as director of the Sundance Film Festival.

Jackson has been a veteran of the premier American festival since 2013, and departs after only two years in the top job. She replaced longtime leader John Cooper in the role in 2020, weeks before the coronavirus pandemic upended the event and the rest of Hollywood.

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Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente announced Tuesday that Jackson will leave her post shortly after the imminent London edition of the fest. Vicente will run operations in the interim while searching for a replacement. With Jackson’s exit also comes the elevation of Sundance fixture Kim Yutani to a senior member of the institute.

“We are grateful to Tabitha and her contributions to the Sundance mission over the last eight and a half years as a leader at the organization. She helped lead the Sundance Film Festival through the ongoing pandemic, helping transform it for the future, all while keeping independent artists as our north star. There is no doubt that she has left her indelible imprint on the organization. She leaves us with the Festival never more vital than during this time of great change in our industry and in a place to continue to make a meaningful contribution to culture,” Vicente said. “I look forward to leading the Festival in the interim and working more closely with Kim and our exceptional team of film programmers. The strength and experience of our existing Festival leadership and programming team means there is no shortage of talent to continue forward with the work we are doing for next year’s Festival.”

Jackson added that “being part of driving forward the mission and purpose of the Sundance Institute has been a deep privilege and a profoundly meaningful part of my life. This incredible organization has only increased my unshakeable belief in artists as a transformative societal force and, in this complex and challenging historical moment, a force more necessary than ever. Going forward, working with and for artists and their freedom of creative expression will continue to be be my guiding light.”

Jackson joined the festival in 2013 as director of the documentary film program. Under her purview, the past two editions of Sundance went virtual and, eventually, mounted as a hybrid in-person and digital gathering.

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