Sundance Film Fest 2019: Cooper, Fest Director, to Step Down

After a decade as festival director, John Cooper is stepping down from his post at the Sundance Film Festival.

Following the 2020 festival, which will mark his 30th Sundance, Cooper will move into a newly created emeritus director position. In the new role, he will focus on special projects and oversee the 40th anniversary of the Sundance Institute, to be celebrated in 2021.

The search for a new director will be led by the Sundance institute’s CEO, Keri Putnam.

Said Cooper, “This journey has been exhilarating. I’ve been lucky to find my perfect job. l always had the founding principles, passed down by Robert Redford, to guide me. I attribute any success I have had to being part of an amazing staff (past and present) who strive together to help storytellers follow their dreams and launch careers. I’ve got such confidence and pride in the team and am excited by all that the future holds. I look forward to remaining a part of this fantastic organization in my new role and creating a seamless transition for new festival leadership.”

Putnam added, “Cooper’s contributions are immeasurably large, and he will be missed in this role — but then again, he will be right down the hall in this new capacity. He’ll lend his vision and experience to key projects as we build toward our 40th anniversary celebration and look ahead to the coming decades of supporting independent creativity.”

During his tenure as director, Cooper implemented programming such as the Short Film section and competition, the Documentary Premiere, NEXT and New Frontier sections.