Sundance Institute's exec director resigns

Ken Brecher will segue into new role as strategic adviser

Ken Brecher has resigned as executive director of the Sundance Institute -- which oversees the Sundance Film Festival, among other programs -- a post he held for 14 years.

His move reflects a further changing of the guard at the Utah-based indie film organization, following Geoff Gilmore's resignation as the festival's director in February to become chief creative officer at Tribeca Enterprises, which oversees the Tribeca Film Festival.

Brecher's resignation was announced Thursday by Wally Weisman, board chair of the Sundance Institute, and will become effective April 30. He will then segue into a new role as strategic adviser for the institute for the next two years.

Recruited by Robert Redford in 1966, Brechner's responsibilities included the institute's core programs: At the Feature Film Program, which encompasses various filmmaker labs, he advocated reaching out to filmmakers in the Middle East; he helped establish the Documentary Fund, which has supported such films as "Born Into Brothels," "Iraq in Fragments" and "Trouble the Water"; he reconceived the Composers Lab and played a role in the creation of the Film Music Program; he oversaw the Sundance Theatre Program, which has supported such plays as "Spring Awakening," "Passing Strange," "I Am My Own Wife" and "Grey Gardens"; and at the festival itself, he encouraged the growth of the documentary and world cinema offerings and the New Frontier program.

Brecher also attracted major grants from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Annenberg Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, among others, to support the institute's $26 million annual opreating budget.

"Brecher's efforts," Weisman said, "will stand the institute in good stead in the years ahead."

Said Brechner: "I have completed my work in building an outstanding leadership team. I could not be more confident that the institute is now poised for the next phase of its innovative work in supporting independent artists."

Sundance said a search for Brecher's successor will begin shortly.