Sundance Institute Board of Trustees Adds Four New Members - Ava DuVernay Is One Of Them
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Sundance Institute Board of Trustees Adds Four New Members - Ava DuVernay Is One Of Them

Ava DuVernay

Sundance Institute today announced 4 new members added to the Institute’s Board of Trustees, and among them is Ava DuVernay

She joins Nadine SchiffRob Epstein and Liesl Tommy.

The 4 join the 22-person Board, which operates under the guidance of President & Founder Robert Redford, and in close collaboration with Executive Director Keri Putnam

The Board is responsible for the governance of the Sundance Institute and all its offerings, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance filmmakers Labs and Sundance grant-giving,. 

Wally Weisman continues as Chairman of the Board.

DuVernay, Epstein and Tommy (participants from past Sundance Institute programs) join the Board as Artist Trustees, who will share with the Board their perspectives, and act as liaisons to other Institute alumni.

Courtesy of a press release from the Sundance Institute, bios for each new trustee (including DuVuernay, who I’m sure you’re all already familiar with; at least I certainly hope so) follow below:


Nadine Schiff began her career as a television journalist, becoming a national reporter for the Dan Rather CBS Evening News. Prior to that, she hosted her own Toronto talk show, Take 30, and reported for The Journal, the flagship newsmagazine show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the early 1990s, Nadine was hired as VP of Michael Douglas’ Sony-based Stonebridge Entertainment and produced films such as Made in AmericaFlatlinersThe Wedding Dress and Live From Baghdad. For seven years, Nadine served on the Board of the Women’s Conference headed by Maria Shriver and currently also serves on the Board of The HELP Group. Nadine has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. She is married to Fred Rosen, former Chairman of Ticketmaster Inc., and has one son.

Ava DuVernay (Artist Trustee) is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the 2013 John Cassavetes Spirit Award for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay’s directorial work also includes the critically-acclaimed dramatic feature I Will Follow, as well as the documentaries Venus vsThis is the Life and My Mic Sounds Nice. She is currently prepping for directorial duties on the Dr. Martin Luther King film, Selma, for Pathe. DuVernay is founder of AFFRM, a film distribution collective dedicated to African-American cinema. Based in Los Angeles, she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Rob Epstein (Artist Trustee) is a film director, producer, writer and editor. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature for the films The Times of Harvey Milk, which premiered at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival, and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. He recently transitioned from non-fiction documentaries into scripted narratives, directing the biopics HOWL (2010) and Lovelace (2013), both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Rob was a Fellow at the Sundance Institute January Screenwriters Lab with the film HOWL and participated as a Creative Advisor at the 2012 Composers + Documentary Lab. He has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Outfest Achievement Award. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he currently serves on the Board of Governors. He is based in San Francisco and is a professor of film at California College of the Arts.

Liesl Tommy (Artist Trustee) is an award-winning international theater director. Her world premieres include Party People by Universes (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The White Man – A Complex Declaration of Love by Joan Rand (DanskDansk Theatre, Denmark), Peggy Picket Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig (Luminato Festival/Canadian Stage Toronto), Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (Yale Repertory Theatre, Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company), The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center), A History of Light by Eisa Davis (Contemporary American Theatre Festival), Angela’s Mixtape by Eisa Davis (Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges), Bus andFamily Ties (Play Company for the Romania Kiss Me! Festival). Liesl is an Associate Director at Berkeley Rep and serves as a Program Associate for Sundance Institute’s Theatre Program, focusing on its activities in East Africa. She was awarded the inaugural Susan Stroman Directing Award from the Vineyard Theatre, the NEA/TCG Directors Grant, and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.

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