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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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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