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Sundance Gets Gay
Artistic Director

Sundance Gets Gay
Artistic Director

One of the film industry's most reputable film-festival will now be headed by a gay man: John Cooper.

One of the film industry's most reputable film-festival will now be headed by a gay man: John Cooper. The Sundance Film Festival's new artistic director has been with its parent organization for 20 years, building its global reach with new technologies and fostering diversity in programming.

Actor Robert Redford, who founded the Sundance Institute in 1981, said Cooper "brings to the position an infectious enthusiasm as well as a deep understanding of the Sundance brand and culture. Forward thinking, he is a natural choice of succession to lead the Festival into the 21st century."

In recent years, Cooper has been involved in distributing short films on platforms such as iTunes, XBox360, and Netflix. He's also recently spearheaded the Art House Project, an initiative of 18 art houses from across the country designed to connect regional audiences to the Sundance's films and filmmakers.

"This is a tremendous opportunity not just for me but for the entire programming team," Cooper said in a statement on Wednesday. "Our industry is at a crossroads: innovative technology and global accessibility are making filmmaking wildly creative while, at the same time, traditional funding and distribution models are being challenged. Never has our Festival been more relevant. I am honored to accept this position and ready to get to work on shaping the Festival of the future."

Following the passing of Proposition 8 in California, many gay activists called for a boycott the festival. Sundance is held each year in Park City, Utah, a state nearly eponymous with the Mormon Church, which was responsible for a considerable amount of donations to passing the gay marriage ban.

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