Posted by Larry Gleeson
Last night, the Sundance Institute’s An Artist at the Table benefit officially kicked off the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. The evening began at the Eccles Theater for the premiere of After the Wedding, directed and written by Bart Freundlich, based on the Academy Award-nominated film by Susanne Bier, and starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup, and Abby Quinn.
Following the screening, the festivities continued at the Utah Film Studios, celebrating the event’s 10th anniversary with a cocktail reception and seated dinner; the dinner featured a multi-course gourmet meal and a celebrated Sundance Institute artist at each table.
Chair of the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees, Pat Mitchell, welcomed guests to the Utah Film Studios. In her opening remarks, Mitchell stated, “This year’s festival theme, RISK INDEPENDENCE says it boldly—reflecting the values that are the touchstone of all our work—and they are the values that define the life and career of our founder, Robert Redford. Forty years ago, he created the Institute, providing a place for other artists to take risks, to fail and find their way again. As a superb storyteller himself, he is the inspiration for generations of artists who want their work to make a difference in the world as he has done through his films, his commitment to preserving and protecting the natural resources and through the Sundance Institute.”
Executive Director of Sundance Institute, Keri Putnam, followed stating, “We believe in the value of this Festival as a true public square for art and ideas. We see the importance especially in having artists and audiences present with one another. Building a community and a cultural conversation across borders and boundaries. That is foundation of Sundance. That is what Robert Redford risked in creating the Institute.”
In addition to Mitchell and Putnam, attendees included Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper, An Artist at the Table Host Committee members Ava DuVernay, Shari Levitin, Pat Mitchell (Sundance Institute Board of Trustees Chair), Amy Redford, Jared Ruga, Jim and Susan Swartz, and speeches by Glenn Close, Awkwafina, Boots Riley, and Ava DuVernay.
Sundance Institute artists and supporters in attendance included Malin Akerman, Desiree Akhavan, Karim Amer, Ritesh Batra, Annette Bening, Joe Berlinger, Jongnic Bontemps, Scott Z. Burns, Ty Burrell, Jackie Chan, Damien Chazelle, John Chester, Glenn Close, David Crosby, Anna Druhich, Ava DuVernay, A.J. Eaton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jacob Estes, Yance Ford, Nisha Ganatra, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Jon Hamm, Alma Har’el, Lena Herzog, Jared & Jerusha Hess, Cristina Ibarra & Alex Rivera, Kirsten Johnson, Mindy Kaling, Ross Kauffman, Jennifer Kent, Lisa Kron, Dennis Lim, Bing Liu, Billy Luther, Tracy McKnight, Phyllis Nagy, Morgan Neville, Jehane Noujaim, Jacqueline Olive, Julius Onah, Jeff Orlowski, Haley Joel Osment, David Oyelowo, Nonny de la Pena, Tayarisha Poe, Storm Reid, Tony Revolori, Boots Riley, Alex Rivera, Luke Rothschild, Angela Sarafyan, James Schamus, Taylor Sheridan, Carlos Simon, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jen Tullock, Matt Tyrnauer, Hannah Pearl Utt, Sheila Vand, Roger Ross Williams, and Awkwafina.
(Source: Press release from Sundance media relations)