Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

The IndieWire brings a fine article yesterday about Tabitha Jackson, who at Sundance «will replace John Cooper as festival director, bringing 25 years of experience in the arts and non-fiction film to the position». Read the whole article (written by Eric Kohn), who « is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first person born outside the United States to head the festival.» Jackson spent 6 years as director of the documentary film program : « “I was perfectly happy doing the job I was currently doing and engaging with artists in the messy business of documentary filmmaking,” she said. She had started to get involved with programming off-screen events at the festival when a producer in the business asked her if she planned to apply for the position. “Then it was like a little brain worm,” Jackson said. “What won out was what gets me out of bed in doing this work. Arts as a public good and as a catalytic force as a deeply necessary thing in understanding the human condition. Why wouldn’t I want to be given the trust to run a festival like this, which is a huge opportunity to direct people’s attention to exciting new voices?”


On this site Tabitha Jackson has been written about on several occasions – in connection to her presence at pitching fora in Europe and when she started at the Sundance Institute. Here is another quote from 2016 (also from IndieWire), love that approach : “When we look at how documentaries are discussed, too often it’s a focus on what they are about and whether the main character is sympathetic,” Jackson told Indiewire in a recent interview. “I’d just like the conversation around nonfiction film to be as exciting as the form itself. When we think about literature, poetry, fiction, or music, it’s not about what is being said, it’s about how it is being said and who is saying it, that’s what makes things last and that’s what makes things have cultural value.”


And in 2014 she talked at the documentary film festival in New York – about Herz Frank : … she found a rallying cry for sensitive and artistically compelling documentary practice in the work and words of Latvian filmmaker Herz Frank, whose 10 Minutes Older, an excerpt of which she screened, contained for Jackson “every emotion you might experience in an entire lifetime” in the single shot of a child watching a puppet show. »


And allow me to express a BIG congratulation to Tabitha Jackson and Kirsten Johnson… from later in the IndieWire article from yesterday :


Jackson’s 2020 festival experience was unique on several fronts. In addition to finalizing the deal for her new job, she got married on the first day of the festival to filmmaker and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, whose intimate diary film “Dick Johnson Is Dead” premiered at the festival. Jackson admitted that it would be the last time Johnson, whose “Cameraperson” was a Sundance breakout in 2016, would screen at the festival during her new wife’s tenure. “Kirsten Johnson is an incredible filmmaker and legendary cinematographer,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately, because we just got married — which is the good news — we’ve made the agreement that she can’t submit work to the festival, which is deeply distressing, but definitely the right thing to do.”

(about Kirsten Johnson and her Cameraperson)



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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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