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Sunday, September 25, 2022

New York Film Festival Director Eugene Hernandez Exiting To Join Sundance Institute As Festival Director And Head Of Public Programming – Deadline

By Matt Grobar
Film Reporter
Eugene Hernandez has been set as the next Director of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Sundance Institute’s Head of Public Programming. The film and media industry veteran joins the Institute as its fourth official Festival Director after spending 12 years at Film at Lincoln Center, most recently as Senior Vice President of FLC, Executive Director of the New York Film Festival and publisher of Film Comment.
In his new role, Hernandez will shape the Institute’s year-round public programming globally and locally, both physically and digitally, championing the social and cultural role and rights of artists, and developing programs to foster dialogue and community with Sundance-supported work at the center. He will also lead the planning and execution of the Festival, working with senior leaders across the organization — including Director of Programming, Kim Yutani — on both the in-person and online elements of the marquee event.

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Hernandez joins Sundance Institute’s core leadership team this November, reporting to CEO Joana Vicente. He will be based between the Institute’s New York and Los Angeles offices, while also working in the Park City office. While Vicente will lead the upcoming 2023 Festival, working closely with Yutani and other members of the Institute’s leadership team, Hernandez’s first Festival leading as Director will be in 2024, for Sundance’s 40th edition.
“It’s a full circle moment as Eugene has been inextricably connected to Sundance for more than 25 years, ever since he came to the Festival in the mid-1990s to build Indiewire, an online community for indie film. He’s been at the forefront of supporting independent artists and deeply invested in the careers of storytellers and the field as a whole,” said Vicente. “I am thrilled that he will be the next Festival Director and that he is joining the Institute’s leadership team. I look forward to working closely with him as he leads the Festival and builds out our public programming — shaping critical conversations all year round, supporting our artist community, and expanding the possibilities for Sundance audiences and artists alike. He joins at a critical time in the industry for independent filmmakers when the Institute has never played a more important role for artists, audiences, and the field in total.”

“Supporting independent artists has always been the bedrock of the Institute and the fuel behind the Festival. The fact that we have been able to hold true to this core purpose is a testament to the vitality of the Institute and to the Festival’s platform as a place to discover new films, ideas, and artists,” said Sundance Institute founder, Robert Redford. “For almost three decades, Eugene has been working on a parallel path with many of the same values and objectives in mind. I’m so pleased to have him serve as our new Festival Director, helping to support a new generation of artists, and taking us into the next decade of Sundance’s story.”
“Sundance’s decades of leadership, championing artistic discovery and independent expression, was a landmark catalyst in my life. Nearly 30 years ago, looking for direction and curious, I went to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time. I immediately connected with its mission, and it changed my life,” added Hernandez. “I’m both energized and humbled to accept this opportunity to join Sundance. Supporting artists has been at the center of my career’s work, and for the last twelve years, I’ve had the privilege of growing and learning at Film at Lincoln Center and the New York Film Festival. I’m ready for this inspiring challenge and unique opportunity to engage artists and audiences at Sundance, work with its best-in-the-business team, and follow in the footsteps of exceptional leaders.”
Hernandez currently leads the New York Film Festival as Festival Director and will depart after this year’s edition, taking place from September 30–October 16. He assumed the position in 2020 and, for the past three years, has helped the fest navigate the new normal of the Covid pandemic, last year bringing NYFF back to cinemas at Lincoln Center and around New York.
Hernandez joined Film at Lincoln Center in 2010 as Director of Digital Strategy, and began leading strategy and special programs for the organization in 2014, when he was promoted to Deputy Director. Before joining the FLC, Hernandez co-founded and served as the Editor-in-Chief of Deadline’s sister site, IndieWire. He is a Member-at-Large of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the board of advisors for SXSW, SeriesFest and Art House Convergence, which Sundance has supported. Additionally, he has worked extensively as a consultant for several nonprofits, written for major print and online publications, and annually participates in the international film festival circuit as a panelist and a juror.
Found by Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute is the champion and curator of independent stories behind the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place each January in Park City, UT. Its signature Labs, granting and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The 2023 edition of the Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 19-29.
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