Sundance Institute | Skoll Stories of Change Initiative Adds Feature Film and New Media Project Support 

Panel during Sundance Film Festival with Laura Poitras, Jehane Noujaim,  Orlando Bagwell, Carne Ross and Jess Search

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute, in collaboration with the Skoll Foundation, will broaden the scope of the Sundance Institute | Skoll Stories of Change initiative, which connects independent storytellers with renowned social entrepreneurs to support the creation of films that shine a spotlight on solutions to urgent social issues.

With an additional $2.5 million grant from the Skoll Foundation, the initiative will expand to include feature film and new media artists as well as documentary filmmakers.

Over the past seven years, Stories of Change has supported 66 social entrepreneurs, 50 documentary filmmakers and storytellers, 11 documentary films, 11 multi-platform media projects, and 20 convenings, workshops, and labs.

Highlights include the Academy Award-nominated film Open Heart, which spurred the government of Rwanda to make eradication of Rheumatic Heart Disease a priority for their country, and the documentary Rafea, broadcast around the world as part of the Why Poverty initiative.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Through the generous support of Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Foundation, we look forward to supporting brave documentary, narrative, and new media artists working to improve the world around them through storytelling. The evolution of this collaboration will build on the greatest strengths of the existing program, increase its reach, and enable us to bring vital independent stories to broader audiences.”

“The Skoll Foundation lives and breathes Jeff Skoll’s unwavering belief in the power of storytelling,” said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Sundance Institute, as led by Robert Redford, is a leading voice for independent storytelling and whose community of world-class storytellers share with Skoll a deep commitment to highlighting injustice and shining a light on solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. We’re proud and excited to expand our support to broaden the reach of these stories and their potential to help us envision and work toward a better world.”

The renewed Sundance Institute | Skoll Stories of Change initiative will kick off an exciting new phase with a reception at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 25. The event will feature a panel discussion looking at timely, issue-driven stories focused on democracy and accountability with Laura Poitras (Director, CitizenFour), Jehane Noujaim (Director, The Square), Orlando Bagwell (Director, UC Berkley J-School, Eyes on the Prize), Carne Ross (Founder, Independent Diplomat), and Jess Search (Chief Executive, BritDoc).

Stories of Change is a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative of Sundance Institute and the Skoll Foundation. The partnership began in 2007 with the goal of bringing together the power of storytelling with the impact of social entrepreneurship. The partnership includes global gatherings of leading filmmakers and social entrepreneurs, including at the Skoll World Forum and the Sundance Film Festival, as well as investments in a portfolio of documentary film projects featuring social entrepreneurs and their innovations.

The Skoll Foundation was established by Jeff Skoll in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. The Foundation’s mission is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents—creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. Join the Skoll Foundation on Facebook and Twitter, and learn more about the 2015 Skoll World Forum.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.