After spending three years as executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival, Joanna Vicente is stepping down to join the Sundance Institute as CEO.
He is succeeding longtime executive Kerry Putnam, who resigned earlier this year. In his new role, Vicente will oversee all areas of the Institute, including the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
He will report to Sundance’s board of directors and work with key stakeholders, including artists, funders and industry donors, as well as lead a 200-year-old cadre of staff and an additional 250 seasonal workers. Vicente began his position in early November, working between the institute’s Park City, Los Angeles and New York City offices.
“It was a very comprehensive search to find the right person, who will continue to lead us with an approach that is consistent with the values established by the institute’s founder, Robert Redford,” said Pat Mitchell, chairman of the board of trustees, and Ibs Barno, chair-elect. Who led the search committee. “Storytellers around the world are more connected than ever before, and Joanna’s international background is important because we want to integrate ourselves with independent artists on a larger scale around the world.”
Vicente’s appointment comes with the blessing of Robert Redford, who founded the Sundance Film Festival.
“From the day we started the Sundance Institute, we had a special mission to build new and diverse voices in freedom, risk-taking and storytelling,” Redford said in a statement. “Throughout her career, it’s clear that Joanna shares the same uncompromising perspective, and we know she has a deep understanding of the growing landscape, and can reach a new generation that works more fluently among manufacturers, communicates across borders, and Directly involved with the audience. ”
Vicente has founded three production companies and produced more than 40 films, including Alex Gibbon’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and Nadine Labaki’s Can Jury Award-winning “Copername”. Throughout his career, he has supported several projects starring at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Sundance is an essential part of my career – I feel like I grew up as a producer with the help of festivals and Sundance Labs. This is a great opportunity to lead an organization that has defined independent storytelling for 40 years, ”said Vicente. “This opportunity brings together all my passions: film, working with storytellers around the world, and mission-leading organizations. I’ve always felt that Sundance is a home for me, and this opportunity makes me feel like I’m going home.
As co-chair of the Toronto International Film Festival, Vicente worked with Cameron Bailey to organize a hybrid event during Covid-1. His departure from TIFF brings the support of the organization’s leadership team, who work with the Sundance Institute to ensure a seamless leadership change for both parties.
Prior to TIFF, Vicente spent nearly a decade on the Independent Filmmaker Project (now the Gotham Film and Media Institute), a non-profit organization for independent directors. He previously co-founded HD Netfilms and HD Net International with Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner and partner Jason Cleot.
Vicente, who speaks several languages, graduated from Universidad Catalica Portuguese in Lisbon, Portugal, and was elected Chief Executive of the National Arts Strategies program, including educational events at Harvard Business School and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He taught The Business of Film at the NYU Stern School of Business.