Tessa Thompson Joins Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees

Tessa Thompson has joined the board…

The nonprofit Sundance Institute has announced four newly appointed additions to the Institute’s Board of Trustees, including the 40-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress.

Tessa Thompson,Thompson, Pete NicksNina Fialkow and Kimberly Steward have joined the leaders who guide the entire organization and also act in an advisory capacity.

They add to the Institute’s Board of values-based leaders, building an enduring, evolving community for storytellers. The distinguished new Trustees will work closely with Board Chair Ebs Burnough and CEO Joana Vicente and bring invaluable experience.

“As Sundance Institute continues to respond to the needs of independent artists, we welcome these new members of our Board, each of whom has an incredible commitment to independent film and a long history with the Institute,” said Burnough. “Together, the Board is poised to identify new and strengthened ways to uplift independent storytellers.”

“We are so pleased to have Tessa, Pete, Nina, and Kimberly join as Trustees on the Board of Sundance Institute. They bring expertise and valuable perspectives that will be meaningful as we continue to evolve as a cultural organization,” said Vicente.

Thompson is an award-winning actor and producer, Nicks is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Fialkow is an award-winning producer, and Steward is an Academy Award-nominated producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

“Both the Sundance Film Festival and the Institute have served as an artistic home for me throughout my career. I’m proud to expand this journey by joining the board to eagerly serve a community that has been so incredibly impactful to me and countless others,” said Thompson.

They join current members on the Institute’s Board: Robert Redford, President & Founder; Burnough, Chair; Sean Bailey, Vice Chair; Gigi Pritzker, Vice Chair; Jason Blum, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Philipp Engelhorn, Caterina Fake, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Robert J. Frankenberg, Patrick Gaspard, Donna Gruneich, Cindy Harrell Horn, Uzodinma Iweala, Amanda Kelso, Charles D. King, Lyn Davis Lear, Ann Lewnes, Wonya Lucas, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Shripriya Mahesh, Pat Mitchell, Bill Plapinger, Amy Redford, Geoffrey K. Sands, Nadine Schiff-Rosen, Barry Tyerman and Lulu Wang.

Here are the bios for the new trustees:

NINA FIALKOW is an Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy Award-winning producer and a member of Impact Partners, a New York-based film funding group focused on telling stories around social justice. She and her husband David Fialkow also have a production entity, New Lane Media.

Nina served as Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council from 2016 until June 2023, an appointment by Governor Charlie Baker. Nina and her husband David have played a direct role in launching the Transmedia Storytelling Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which will teach media-based storytelling from film through augmented reality. In addition, she is on the International Council for The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She also serves on the National Committee for Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. where she sits on the Executive Committee.

PETE NICKS is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, producer, and director known for his immersive cinema vérité Oakland trilogy. His critically acclaimed feature documentary The Waiting Room won an Independent Spirit Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2012. The Force, the second in the trilogy explores the interconnected narratives of health care, criminal justice and education, and won the 2017 Sundance Directing Prize. Homeroom, the final film in the trilogy, won the inaugural Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. His most recent film, Stephen Curry: Underrated, about the rise of NBA superstar Stephen Curry, premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Nicks co-founded Proximity Media with Ryan Coogler and oversees the Nonfiction Division. He is the recipient of the SFFS/KRF screenwriting grant and a United States Artists Fellow. He received his B.A. from Howard University and his Masters from UC Berkeley.


KIMBERLY STEWARD is an Academy Award-nominated producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Steward produced the six-time Academy Award nominated Manchester By The Sea; Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria; The True Adventures Of Wolfboy; Topside which premiered at SXSW and the Venice Film Festival; Secret Life Of Bees (theatre); Sing Street (theatre); the Afro-centric documentaries Opposite Field and Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and The Emergence Of A People.

Most recently she produced The Accidental Getaway Driver, which won the US Dramatic Directing Award at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and The Vanishings at Caddo Lake, which was produced with M. Night Shyamalan.

In 2023, Kimberly and the K Period Media Foundation partnered with Blumhouse and collaborated with Sundance to launch the Screamwriters Fellowship. Kimberly proudly serves on the boards of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, One Community, Ava DuVernay’s Array Alliance, the Fresh Air Fund, and the Ubuntu Council of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project.

TESSA THOMPSON is an award-winning actor and producer. She most recently reprised her role as ‘Bianca’ in Creed III directed by Michael B. Jordan. In 2020, Thompson starred in Amazon Prime’s Sylvie’s Love, which she Executive Produced. In 2021, Thompson starred in the indie film, Passing, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and she also Executive Produced. Thompson’s past credits include Thor: Love and Thunder, Creed, Creed II, Men in Black: International, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Little Woods, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother You, Selma, Dear White People, and Westworld.

In 2019, Thompson was featured on the cover of TIME magazine as a trailblazer and “Leader of the Next Generation.” Her upcoming project includes starring in the title role of ‘Hedda Gabler’ in Nia DaCosta’s film Hedda for MGM’s Orion Pictures and Plan B.

With these additions, the Sundance Institute board comprises 32 people, 14 of whom self-identify as BIPOC. The board is 44% men and 56% women.

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