Executive Director, Sundance Institute
Keri Putnam oversees all programs of the global nonprofit Sundance Institute, including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Film Festival, Film Music Program, Theatre Program, and Native American and Indigenous Program. She is also responsible for expanding the Institute's international work, initiating strategic partnerships, and growing the Institute's annual operating budget. In addition, Putnam leads Institute initiatives to provide independent filmmakers with access to digital distribution through the Artist Services program and to identify and lessen roadblocks for women in the independent sector via the Women Filmmakers Initiative.
Before joining Sundance Institute, Putnam served as president of production for Miramax Films, the Walt Disney Company's specialty film division. Prior to joining Miramax, Putnam was executive vice president, HBO Films, responsible for the development and production of films for both the cable network and for theatrical release.
A graduate of Harvard, Putnam studied theatre and began her career working for Williamstown Theater Festival, McCarter Theater, Arena Stage, the ART, and others. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
President and CEO, Welle Entertainment
President, Emerita, Women In Film Los Angeles
Cathy Schulman, a Best Picture Academy Award® winning producer and veteran film executive, is the president and CEO of Welle Entertainment, a film and television production and finance company that opened its doors in 2017. Schulman was most recently the Head of Production for STX Entertainment. Having joined the company as one of its initial senior executives, Schulman managed an annual twelve picture slate. Recent films under Schulman’s purview include the Summer 2016 hit Bad Moms, written and directed by The Hangover’s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate; and the critical darling The Edge of Seventeen, written and directed by Kelly Freemon Craig, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Under her own Bull’s Eye Entertainment banner, Schulman produced Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar in 2006, Crash received Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Among many of the notable films Schulman has produced are Horns, Voices, Bernie, Soul Surfer, Thumbsucker, and The Illusionist. She also developed and arranged the financing for Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.
Schulman has been the President of Women In Film, the industry’s leading advocacy organization for women in media, since 2011. Schulman is also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor and has taught graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has also served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. She is a notable industry spokesperson and public speaker and most recently gave the 2016 media address for International Woman’s Day at the United Nations. Schulman is a graduate of Yale University, with a double major in Theater Studies and History of Art. She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Executive Director, Women In Film Los Angeles
Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles the preeminent organization that advocates for women in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. Previously she was the Director of Programming and then Executive Director of Outfest. She is widely credited as having grown Outfest into the leading LGBT media arts organization that it is. During Schaffer’s tenure at Outfest, she shepherded three new programs for the organization: The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival and OutSet, the Young Filmmakers Project. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management and arts administration.
She is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, AIM (Arts Innovation and Management), and the Wells Fargo New Executive Director Institute. Kirsten was named one of POWER UP’s “Top 10 Women in Show Business,” and was the recipient of a “Women in Business” Award from Senator Liu. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Alison Emilio is Director of ReFrame, a joint initiative of Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles. ReFrame is a growing coalition of industry leaders and 60+ Ambassadors – producers, directors, agents, studio executives – to bring about measurable progress in achieving gender equity and advancing female filmmakers in film, TV, and media.
Prior to ReFrame, Alison served as Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for CreativeFuture. Her feature film work includes Lorimar Filmed Entertainment and New Line Cinema (New York and Los Angeles) as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, responsible for the marketing, publicity, and promotional campaigns for more than 25 films, as well as corporate and financial communications. She established the U.S. office of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, generating over $150 million in revenue.
Alison serves on the Advisory Board of the Horizon Award, which advances gender parity in media and provides sponsorship and mentorship to the next generation of female filmmakers. Emilio’s producing credits include Handmade Films’ Dinner at Fred’s, starring Parker Posey, Gil Bellows, and Christopher Lloyd; Drowning on Dry Land, starring Barbara Hershey and Naveen Andrews; and Someone is Watching, starring Stephanie Powers, for Lifetime.