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in Filmmaking
on May 10, 2009

I’m a couple days late catching up with news on the blog, but congratulations to Trevor Groth, who was appointed this week as the Sundance Film Festival’s Director of Programming. He’s taking over the position from John Cooper, who, following Geoff Gilmore’s move to Tribeca, was appointed the festival’s director.

From the press release:

A 16-year veteran of the Festival, Groth had been a Senior Programmer handling both narrative and documentary feature selection and leading the Festival’s Short Film Section. In his new role Groth will head up the six person programming team that is responsible for curating the Festival’s on-screen and off-screen events. He succeeds John Cooper who in March was named Director of the Festival.

In issuing the announcement, Cooper said, “I don’t know of anyone in this business so wildly creative yet unassuming and completely affable. Trevor possesses excellent taste in film and with it a keen eye for finding those rare diamonds in the rough. He has long championed the offbeat and the experimental, but as a means of drawing in audiences not alienating them.”

A native of Salt Lake City, Groth worked for the Sundance Institute’s filmmaker labs and development program while still a student in film school at the University of Utah. He joined the programming staff in 1993 and was named Senior Programmer in 2003: Hard Eight, Pi, Memento and Napoleon Dynamite are a sampling of film titles Groth helped to champion. Under his direction as head programmer for the Festival’s Short Film Section, Groth was among the first to showcase the shorts of Todd Field, Spike Jonze and Peter Sollett, among others. Since 2002 Groth has served also as Artistic Director for The CineVegas Film Festival. In addition, he has been a guest curator for the Australian Film Institute, and a juror at such festivals as SXSW, Morelia and the Off Plus Camera Film Festival and more. He has also served as a consultant on a number of film productions.
“Having started out as a volunteer at the festival when I was in high school to now being the director of programming has been an exhilarating journey,” Groth said. “I have had a birds-eye view of the rise of the American independent film movement over the last twenty years that Sundance played a key role in supporting. It is a terrific privilege to work alongside such an amazing group of people as well as discovering innovative filmmakers and connecting them with audiences. I look forward to continuing both of these and to unearthing new trends in film, video and beyond.”

In addition to Groth and Cooper, the Sundance Film Festival programming team is comprised of veteran programmers Caroline Libresco, David Courier, Shari Frilot and John Nein. An additional shorts programming team consists of Jon Korn, Todd Luoto, Shane Smith, Hebe Tabachnik and Kimberly Yutani. The 2010 Festival will be held January 21 – 31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

Both Cooper and Groth will be speaking at the American Pavilion in Cannes on May 17 at 3:00pm.

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