sundance institute

François-Henri Pinault’s French luxury powerhouse Kering and Sundance Institute have joined forces to support six female directors throughout the year as part of the festival’s Women at Sundance Fellowship Program.

Under the partnership, Kering will develop a special training workshop for this year’s Women at Sundance Fellows, while both institutions will co-host a Women in Motion panel discussion in NYC in April.

The fellowship program will match six women filmmakers from Sundance Institute’s programs with industry leaders and will include one-on-one mentorship and coaching.

“Women make up 50.8% of the U.S. population and yet only 4.2% of the 100 top-grossing films are made by female directors. However, each year for the last 13 years, 25% of American directors at the Sundance Film Festival have been female. I am thus very excited and proud about Kering supporting ‘Women at Sundance’ Fellows,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering Group’s chairman and CEO.

Added Pinault, “Empowering women to succeed and encouraging a more diverse film industry is essential when we consider the impact that films have on our ways of thinking and behaving. Sundance Institute is doing this in a very pragmatic and exemplary way.”

Keri Putnam, exec director of Sundance Institute, said the org has “always believed that diverse artists and perspectives are critical to the health and vibrancy of independent storytelling.”

Putnam pointed out Kering Group has helped the Sundance Institute “raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in entertainment and empowering women filmmakers.”

Launched three years ago, the Fellowship has supported 29 directors, including Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Sydney Freeland (“Drunktown’s Finest”), Aurora Guerrero (“Mosquita y Mari”), Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”) and Tracy Droz Tragos (“Rich Hill”).

Kering successfully kicked off a partnership with Cannes Film Festival last year, inaugurating the ‘Women in Motion’ program to celebrate female talent in the film industry. The first edition of Cannes’ ‘Women in Motion’ was attended by a flurry of high-profile thesps, directors and producers, notably Salma Hayek, Isabelle Huppert, Christine Vachon as well as Fremaux himself.

The first edition also honored Jane Fonda and Megan Ellison who received ‘Women in Motion’ awards.

The luxury company has been supporting gender equality and women’s rights for years through the Kering Foundation and partnerships with NGOs and social entrepreneurs. The company also previously teamed up with Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign to fight against violence toward women.

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