Keri Putnam to run Sundance Institute

Former Miramax exec named executive director of nonprofit

Keri Putnam, conversant in the indie film world after stints at HBO and Miramax, is joining the Sundance Institute as its executive director.

That post has been open since Ken Brecher stepped down in April after 14 years on the job.

Putnam, who most recently served as Miramax's president of production, became available when Disney beginning shutting down its specialty film unit in October.

Wally Weisman, chairman of the board of the Sundance Institute, announced Putnam's appointment Wednesday. Based in Los Angeles, Putnam, who will report directly to the board, is expected to begin in mid-April.

As exec director, Putnam will oversee all programs at the 29-year-old nonprofit, which includes its Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Film Music Program, Theatre Program and Native and Indigenous Program as well as the Sundance Film Festival.

"Keri Putnam has a passion for the arts, a leading profile in the film community and a stellar reputation for her intelligence, creativity, collaboration and leadership at the highest levels of business," Sundance president and founder Robert Redford said.

Putnam, who began her career in the theater with stops at the Williamstown Theater Festival, McCarter Theater and Arena Stage, joined HBO in 1996 as vp of HBO NYC Prods., where she had a hand in such original productions as "If These Walls Could Talk," "In the Gloaming" and "Subway Stories."

Putnam was promoted to senior vp of HBO Films in 1996 and exec vp in 2004, overseeing the development and production of films for both the cable net and for theatrical release.

She supervised such projects as Gus Van Sant's Palme d'Or winner "Elephant" as well as such Emmy-winning titles as "Warm Springs," "The Life and Times of Peter Sellers," "Something the Lord Made," "Empire Falls" and "The Girl in the Cafe."

Joining Miramax in 2006, Puttnam was involved in such films as "No Country for Old Men," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Doubt," "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Queen."

She has worked with such alumni of the Sundance Institute as Julian Jarrold, Moises Kaufman, Taika Waititi and Allison Anders, and she's also seen several films that she's supervised -- George C. Wolfe's "Lackawanna Blues," Mira Nair's "Hysterical Blindness" and Jane Anderson's "Normal" among them -- play the Sundance fest.

"Throughout my career I have witnessed the breadth and impact of the many programs of Sundance Institute," Putnam said.