By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

Sundance Institute Announces Sarah Eaton as Director of Media Relations

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2011, Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the appointment of Sarah Eaton to Director of Media Relations. Eaton will oversee media relations for all programs of the nonprofit Institute, including the annual Sundance Film Festival. She will begin November 14, reporting to Director of External Relations Jennifer Arceneaux.

Eaton was previously Senior Vice President of Communications for Sundance Channel, where she worked from 1999 through 2011. At Sundance Channel she created, executed and managed network communications strategy and media and public relations activities across all business initiatives. She served as strategist on all communications matters for Sundance Channel and developed and executed Awards campaign strategy. Since spring of 2011 Eaton has been a freelance public relations consultant on films and to organizations including the New York Film Festival, Cinema Arts Festival Houston and the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Prior to joining Sundance Channel, Eaton was Vice President of Public Relations for October Films, leading a bi-coastal team responsible for all media and public relations activities for the specialized theatrical film distributor. There, she executed campaigns for films including Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune, Mike Leigh’s Career Girls and Topsy Turvy¸ Robert Duvall’s Oscar-nominated The Apostle, and Oscar-winning documentary The Last Days by James Moll. She was previously Executive Director of Field Publicity for Fine Line Features, where she developed and executed all field publicity and promotional efforts.

At Sundance Institute, Eaton will raise awareness of the year-round work of the Institute. Her role will include developing, integrating and implementing components of the Institute’s strategic communications plan and coordinating efforts with Development and Marketing to support fundraising activities, sponsorship programs, advertising and earned income efforts.

Eaton will oversee day-to-day operations of the Institute’s media relations department, including Los Angeles-based Media Relations Manager Casey De La Rosa and Park City, Utah-based Media Relations Manager Elizabeth Latenser. De La Rosa supports the development and execution of national and international media relations and manages a team of seasonal publicists for the Festival. Latenser serves as the media relations liaison for all Utah-based press and is responsible for the operations and logistics of the Press Office hosted during the Festival.

For nearly three decades, Sundance Institute has promoted independent storytelling to inform and inspire audiences across political, social, religious and cultural differences. Through labs, funding, special projects with key partners and the Sundance Film Festival, the Institute serves as the leading advocate for independent artists worldwide.

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America, and through its New Frontier initiative, has brought the cinematic works of media artists including Pipilotti Rist, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Matthew Barney. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott