Sundance 2017 has come to an end, but with a bang, not a whimper. At the Saturday night awards, films that took on politics and feminism came out on top. And before that, a gathering of women to discuss the path forward turned into a heated discussion about intersectional feminism and race.
Thanks for joining the Los Angeles Times team of intrepid critics and reporters as they navigated art, politics and parties. We Hang out with filmmakers, marched with Chelsea Handler and watched next year’s big films (and festival flops) emerge. See you next year!
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One of Sundance’s stated goals is to increase diversity both at its festival and its talent-incubating labs.
That effort received a boost Sunday when the organization announced that the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation would lend financial support the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive program.
The Intensive program offers a two-day workshop to a number of screenwriters from underrepresented communities, and also works with the Diversity Initiative. The grant has been set up for two years; the amount of the donation was not disclosed.
In a statement, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam said that, with the help of the Smith foundation, “we will build momentum and awareness about the need to create a film and media landscape that reflects the full richness and diversity of our culture.”
Jada Pinkett Smith noted that that the goal of the partnership was to “cultivate stories and storytellers reflective of the world at large.”
At a time when Hollywood has been criticized for a lack of minorities in many creative roles, Sundance has been a refreshing counter-example, both at the labs and the festival. This year’s festival has seen a number of movies written by people of color, including two early breakouts—the Kumail Nanjiani-written “The Big Sick” and the Dee Rees- and Virgil Williams-written “Mudbound," which both premiered to strong receptions this weekend in Park City.