Sundance looks to Utah in hiring co-managing directors

Promotions • Hopkins, Pearce have deep roots in Sundance and Utah.
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The Sundance Institute has looked locally, and internally, to manage Robert Redford's internationally famous nonprofit arts group.

Laurie Hopkins and Sarah Pearce, two longtime Utahns from within the Institute's ranks, will become Sundance's co-managing directors, executive director Keri Putnam announced Wednesday, Nov. 14. The promotions, which put them in charge of Sundance's Park City offices, take effect Jan. 1.

"We really feel like there's a strong and vibrant team internally [at Sundance]," Hopkins said Wednesday morning. "It was important to us that the organization took a look at us first."

Hopkins, who joined Sundance in 2006 and was most recently its director of budgeting and administration, will be co-managing director for administration. Her duties include short- and long-term planning, and overseeing Sundance's financial, budgeting and legal issues.

Pearce has served for 13 years as director of operations for the Sundance Film Festival, and will become co-managing director for operations and Utah community relations. She will continue to oversee the festival's operations, as well as similar duties with Sundance's other programs — including the filmmakers' labs and the Sundance London Film and Music Festival, which goes into its second year next April.

Pearce stressed Sundance's year-round presence in Utah, which reaches beyond its famous film festival in January to include a summer film series and outreach programs with Utah high school students. "We're looking to continue on that path, and try to broaden it," Pearce said.

The promotions follow the announcement in September that Sundance's longtime managing director, Jill Miller, would leave after 20-years-plus at the institute. Both Hopkins and Pearce praised Miller for "creating the culture," as Pearce put it, at Sundance's Park City headquarters.

"She's really mentored us," Hopkins said. "Under Jill's tutelage, we have a really great team."

Another promotion at Sundance announced Wednesday: Brooke McAffee, the institute's finance director since 2005, has been bumped up to Chief Financial Officer.