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Cara Mertes, director, documentary film program, Sundance Institute

Women's Impact Report 2012: Executives

Mertes pushed the 10-year-old Sundance documentary program’s efforts into the international arena in 2012, expanding its funding and mission. She also fostered a partnership with Stories of Change, which pairs docmakers with social entrepreneurs, funded via Skoll Foundation and the Good Pitch forum, which brings together filmmakers and orgs invested in social change issues and projects. Mertes expanded Sundance’s docu labs via a second edit lab, producer lab and composer lab. For the first time, the Documentary Film Program awarded seven cash awards at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

What we should know: “Indie documentary people have a great sense of humor!”

Words of wisdom: “You have to do it for love, not money; love of an idea, a cause, a set of values that puts creativity, community and the full spectrum of the human experience in the foreground.”

Smartphone on vacation? “Indeed, but it isn’t a smart idea.”

Work week: “60 hours, not including work in my sleep.”

Life-work balance: “On the too-rare occasions that occurs, deep listening is the key.”

Charitable passions: “Anything to do with creating a more equitable and just present and future — because we must.”

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