Last year at the Sundance Film Festival, news of Tabitha Jackson’s hiring as the festival’s new director was heralded as a trailblazing moment of firsts: Jackson would be the first woman, the first person of color and the first non-U.S. born leader of the prestigious Utah film festival, replacing outgoing predecessor John Cooper.
In February, she began her new role, ready to put her stamp on the annual event. In March, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
To say her inaugural year heading the most influential film festival in America was rife with unpredictable challenges is an understatement. But on Jan. 28, running a seven-day edition largely online and packed with virtual screenings, Q&A’s and events, Jackson’s tenure as Sundance director — which follows award-winning work as a filmmaker and six-year stint as director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program — will kick off with a renewed sense of purpose for