John Cooper
John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock
United States



Sundance Film Festival director since 2009, Cooper has held key roles in the esteemed Park City hot ticket, having started in 1989 as a festival programmer and adapting as the business around art-house film changed. As he took the top slot, the DVD industry was collapsing, depriving companies of a major source of revenue. Studios were also shuttering their indie labels, becoming less interested in backing edgy or commercially risky projects. Now Cooper leads Sundance’s programming and strategic-growth operations, overseeing activities such as content production, online initiatives and key national and international partnerships. When he became director, Robert Redford himself lauded Cooper for achieving the festival’s ever-consistent goals: supporting up-and-coming artists and inspiring new audiences.


  • Sundance Institute
  • Sundance Film Festival


  • San Diego State University (CA, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 2018 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Outgoing Sundance Festival Director John Cooper Reflects on 30 Years of Highs and Lows

Outgoing Sundance Festival Director John Cooper Reflects on 30 Years of Highs and Lows

John Cooper, the outgoing director of the Sundance Film Festival, has been on Robert Redford's payroll for 30 years.Many in the small world of Hollywood, and the even smaller ecosystem of global film festivals, braced at the announcement last June that Cooper would step down, taking with him decades of institutional memory. Cooper spoke with Variety about his long Park City experience and the past 11 years spent in the director role.Hotel hangouts with Tammy Faye Bakker, mad dashes to...


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