Professional Directions: Q&A with Keri Putnam, Co-founder of ReFRAME and former CEO of the Sundance Institute

Professional Directions: Q&A with Keri Putnam, Co-founder of ReFRAME and former CEO of the Sundance Institute.

Wednesday, November 16 at 10:00 a.m.
Film Forum, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts
430 College Ave, Ithaca NY

Moderated by Jessica Bardsley and Daniel Pfeffer.
Free and open to the public and first-come, first-served

Keri Putnam served as CEO of Sundance Institute from 2010-21, where she oversaw the annual Sundance Film Festival as well as the Institute’s extensive array of programs to support and present the work of storytelling artists around the world. Under Putnam’s leadership, Sundance expanded its work and now supports 800 artists each year through its residential labs, granting programs, workshops, and festivals.

Putnam advanced the Institute’s international presence; deepened the organization’s commitment to advancing women and underrepresented communities; launched new programs for artists in new media, episodic and short-form web storytelling; significantly expanded year-round public programming; and launched pioneering programs to help filmmakers innovate in marketing and distribution.

Prior to joining Sundance, Putnam was President of Production at Miramax films, a division of the Walt Disney Company, where she oversaw acquisitions, development, production, post-production, and production finance. Her slate included the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will be Blood, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, Stephen Frears’ The Queen, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, and Julian Schnabel’s Diving Bell and the Butterfly. During her 4-year tenure at the company, Miramax films were recognized with 34 Academy Award nominations and 7 wins.

Putnam spent the first 15 years of her career at HBO, starting as an assistant in original programming and ending as Executive Vice President of movies and mini-series overseeing the creative team in this area. She supervised production of 48 films and mini-series, which collectively were nominated or won over 50 Emmy Awards, as well as numerous Peabody Awards, Golden Globes, the Humanitas Prize, the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or (for Gus van Sant’s Elephant) and other honors. While at HBO, Putnam was responsible for some of the division’s most successful projects, including HBO’s highest-rated original movie If These Walls Could Talk. She was also a key leadership team member in building and launching a theatrical division called Picturehouse in partnership with New Line Cinema that made and released acclaimed films such as Elephant, Maria Full of Grace, American Splendor, and Real Women Have Curves, among others.

A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard, Putnam studied theatre history and literature. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, serves on the board of Women in Film Los Angeles, the advisory board of the Feirstein Film School at Brooklyn College, the advisory board at 826LA, the advisory council of Harvardwood, the advisory council of the Office of the Arts at Harvard University, and as a mentor at the Stark Producing Program at USC. She lives in Los Angeles.

This event is part of PMA's Professional Directions series, which invites industry experts to speak about their career journeys as screenwriters, playwrights, editors, producers, directors, theatre critics, dramaturgs, and more.

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Headshot of Keri Putnam