Eugene Hernandez has been named director of the Sundance Film Festival and head of public programming, following the departure of Tabitha Jackson in June.
Hernandez joins the Sundance Institute from Film at Lincoln Center, where he has overseen the New York Film Festival for the past three years. He will depart after this year’s festival, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct 16. Prior to FLC, Hernandez — who serves on the board of advisors for SXSW and SeriesFest, among others — was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of IndieWirethe indie-focused film publication.
“Sundance’s decades of leadership, championing artistic discovery and independent expression, was a landmark catalyst in my life. Nearly 30 years ago, looking for direction and curious, I went to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time. I immediately connected with its mission, and it changed my life,” said Hernandez, who is also a member-at-large of the Academy.
The upcoming 2023 Festival is being led by Joanna Vicente, who was tapped to replace Keri Putnam as CEO of the Sundance Institute. Vicente is working closely with director of programming Kim Yutani for next year’s fest. Hernandez’s first festival leading as director will be in 2024 for Sundance’s 40th edition.
“It’s a full circle moment as Eugene has been inextricably connected to Sundance for more than 25 years, ever since he came to the festival in the mid-1990s to build Indiewire, an online community for indie film. He’s been at the forefront of supporting independent artists and deeply invested in the careers of storytellers and the field as a whole,” said Vicente.
“Supporting independent artists has always been the bedrock of the Institute and the fuel behind the Festival. The fact that we have been able to hold true to this core purpose is a testament to the vitality of the Institute and to the Festival’s platform as a place to discover new films, ideas and artists. For almost three decades, Eugene has been working on a parallel path with many of the same values and objectives in mind,” added Sundance founder Robert Redford.
Jackson served for two years at the post. Both of the festivals she oversaw were virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2023 Sundance Film Festival is planned as a hybrid event, with in-person screening returning to Park City with on-demand, online offerings that will include all 2023 competition titles.
Added Hernandez: “I’m both energized and humbled to accept this opportunity to join Sundance. Supporting artists has been at the center of my career’s work, and for the last 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of growing and learning at Film at Lincoln Center and the New York Film Festival. I’m ready for this inspiring challenge and unique opportunity to engage artists and audiences at Sundance, work with its best-in-the-business team and follow in the footsteps of exceptional leaders.”
The 2023 Sundance Film Festival will run Jan. 19 to 29.
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