Former Miramax exec named director of Redford's nonprofit

Keri Putnam has been appointed executive director of the Sundance Institute, repping a new approach for the job that oversees all aspects of Robert Redford’s nonprofit.

Putnam, who most recently held the production prexy post at Miramax Films and was a longtime production exec at HBO Films, will be based in Los Angeles and starts her new position April 19.

Redford, the institute’s president and founder, noted the change in direction as Putnam hails from the film world rather than the non-profit sector as had been the case.

“In the spirit of moving forward with fresh new ideas and a fresh approach in this new environment that surrounds us, Keri’s appointment reflects the new direction in which we are headed,” Redford said. “Working together to expand our international presence, connect to new audiences and experiment with emerging areas of artist support, I have every confidence Keri’s knowledge and talent will be critical to the fulfillment and expansion of the institute’s mission and vision in the years ahead.”

Putnam fills the vacancy left by Ken Brecher, who, prior to Sundance, worked in the nonprofit arts world. He was with the institute for nearly 14 years and ankled last April.

Prior to Sundance, Brecher was a foundation president, a museum director and an artistic director in theater.

Putnam will report directly to the institute’s board of trustees, including Redford, and will oversee all the institute’s programs, including the Sundance Film Festival, Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Film Music Program, Theater Program and Native & Indigenous Program. Heads of those programs, such as festival director John Cooper and feature film’s Michelle Satter, will report to Putnam.

She’s also charged with developing strategic partnerships with foundations and corporate sponsors, as well as growing the institute’s annual operating budget, according to a statement announcing her appointment.

Putnam said, “Sundance is truly unique not only for its mission but for its entire culture, brand and influence. This is an incredible opportunity for me personally, and there is also tremendous potential for all of us — staff, trustees, alumni and friends alike — to explore new opportunities and expand on our global reputation.”

At Miramax, the specialty label shuttered by Disney late last year, Putnam oversaw productions including “Doubt,” “Adventureland” and “Gone Baby Gone”; acquisition title “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”; and co-productions “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.”

Prior to joining Miramax in 2006, Putnam was exec VP of HBO Films, where she developed and produced films for release on the cabler as well as theatrically. Among the projects she shepherded at HBO were Gus van Sant’s Palme d’Or winner “Elephant,” and Emmy winners such as “Warm Springs,” “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and “Empire Falls.”

Founded by Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute is a nonprofit that produces the annual Sundance fest and fosters film and theater talent. Among the projects Sundance has supported over the years are theater production “Spring Awakening,” docu “Trouble the Water” and other films such as “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Sin nombre.”

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