Sundance Institute and Adobe create a new Women-focused Fellowship


Staff member
Sundance and Adobe create a Women-focused Fellowship

The new Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship aims to help female filmmakers launch successful and sustainable careers, through a cash grant and participation in a Sundance Institute Lab or Program.

Adobe is the first-ever brand to create a Women-focused Fellowship with the Sundance Institute. The program will seek to discover, champion and spotlight women artists creating work across diverse disciplines. It’s an effort to make women more visible in the Hollywood landscape, at a time when we look at the 2020 Oscars and discover that, again, no woman appears in the list of nominees. That’s the harsh reality, as Adobe EVP and CMO, Ann Lewnes, noted in her speech, announcing the new fellowship.

Ann Kewnes said: “Film has the power to shape culture, politics and social norms. But that can’t happen without a diverse set of voices. To help surface some of the best female filmmakers, Adobe created the women’s Fellowship with Sundance. A program that will empower women across diverse disciplines of filmmaking. I’m incredibly proud of the role Adobe is playing to advance the role of women in film. Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to ever win an Academy Award in the director category and, sadly, it won’t happen at the 2020 Oscars either. That needs to change and it won’t unless we help female filmmakers tell their stories.”

Sundance and Adobe create a Women-focused Fellowship
Greater opportunity for the underrepresented

To make it happen, Adobe and Sundance present this Women-focused Fellowship, that creates the base to help discover new or hidden talents. According to Adobe, “creativity is everywhere and within everyone. It’s in the stories we tell and the experiences we create, but not everyone’s voice is being heard. At Adobe, we are committed to empowering everyone to bring their story to life and creating greater opportunity for all voices, especially the underrepresented. As a longtime partner of Sundance Institute, we continue to deliver on this commitment and this year will launch the inaugural Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship to help female filmmakers launch successful and sustainable careers.”

Sundance Institute Executive Director, Keri Putnam, added: “Sundance Institute has long been committed to championing, elevating, and supporting women filmmakers, and we’re enormously proud to deepen that commitment by partnering with Adobe in creating the groundbreaking Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship. At this critical moment, we must continue forging paths for women to succeed as storytellers who shape a more representative cultural landscape.”

Sundance and Adobe create a Women-focused Fellowship

A $10,000 cash grant and more

The Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship offers bespoke support to five artists who identify as women, creating bold new work across diverse disciplines and various Sundance Institute artist development programs.

The pillars of the Fellowship include:

  • A $10,000 cash grant
  • Participation in a Sundance Institute Lab or Program
  • Year-round mentorship from Sundance Institute staff and Adobe executives.
Adobe’s commitment to celebrating diverse voices in creativity at Sundance doesn’t stop at the work we’re doing to support female filmmakers. The company is empowering the next generation of creators with tools and mentorship through the Sundance Ignite program, helping aspiring artists tap into their creativity and shape the future of filmmaking. Adobe also supports Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and the newly created Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Awards for outstanding mentorship in the field of film editing.

Adobe’s efforts to create greater opportunity for all voices goes beyond Sundance, with year-round scholarships, grants, mentoring and access to our industry-leading software, including Creativity Scholarships, Adobe Digital Academy, Adobe Creative Residency program and Community Challenges.

Sundance and Adobe create a Women-focused Fellowship
Women at Sundance

The Sundance Institute has its own Women at Sundance program active since 2012, in partnership with Women In Film Los Angeles. Together, they commissioned groundbreaking research with Dr. Stacy Smith and her team at USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to better understand the key barriers and opportunities for women filmmakers.

Guided by these findings over the years, Women at Sundance has strengthened the artist pipeline, supported women creators to cultivate career sustainability, catalyzed the growth of women-dominated networks, and established a firm awareness among decision-makers and gatekeepers in the industry about the deficit of women behind the camera in independent film and beyond.

The numbers, though, don’t lie: there is still a lot to be done, and the new fellowship with Adobe helps. At a time when women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, just 4.2 percent of the 100 top-grossing American films are made by female directors; and that statistic hasn’t changed over the last decade. Sundance Institute has offered unprecedented support to women artists, including groundbreaking women like Euzhan Palcy, Barbara Kopple, Allison Anders, and many more at its earliest labs and Festival.

Women at Sundance continues to discover, spotlight, and forge ways for women to succeed as storytellers who shape our cultural landscape.