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Sundance Institute Removes Interdisciplinary Program as Part of Cost-Cutting Measures

The Sundance Institute has announced that it will retire its Interdisciplinary Program as part of its measures to cut costs and reduce the scope of operations going forward.


The Institute presents the annual Sundance International Film Festival in Utah, with an emphasis on small-budget, independent creators. This year, CODA became the first Sundance film to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

The last two editions of the festival were held online owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a company memo shared with the staff, Sundance CEO Joana Vicente stated that t shift to a digital-only format has impacted the festival’s funding, and consequently, the programs aimed at supporting artists.

Vicente also revealed the organisation’s plan to cut costs by doing away with some of its pilot programs. As a result of the planned measures, six people will leave Sundance Institute, she noted, adding that those and other open positions will not be filled.

“We are taking great care to help ensure a smooth transition for these employees. We will provide exit packages including severance, COBRA reimbursement, and job placement assistance, as well as other benefits, for those who are leaving the organisation,” said the CEO.

Out of the 12 artist programs offered, the Interdisciplinary Program will be done away with, and its fellowships, residency, and labs, will conclude at the end of the fiscal year.

It is to be noted that in 2020, the Institute consolidated the Film Music, New Frontier Labs, and Theatre programs to create the Interdisciplinary Program. The discontinuation of the program, thus, also means the discontinuation of the three associated programs.

“Additionally, we will also not be able to move forward with the Film Music Program, which has been working with the Interdisciplinary Program as well as nurturing emerging composers and our selected Film Fellows on the art of storytelling and music,” Vicente confirmed.

In addition to the above, Sundance Collab will also be reduced in scope, and take forward only “paid, affordable learning opportunities, while reducing the other areas of programming.”


A free-to-join global learning and story-telling community, Sundance Collab created a digital space for artists to receive opportunities, personalised feedback and resources, while forging connections with new artists.

The initiative’s website cites two plans for creators to choose from, a paid plan of $10 a month, and a free plan. The changes, as announced, will transform the initiative as a paid-only platform. Vicente also noted that the focus of the festival’s year-round artist support will be in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, and episodic storytelling.

The Institute’s Collective department, which was an expansion of the Alumni Program and existed to offer increased networking opportunities and artist resources, will also be discontinued.