Partner Team

Cara MertesCara Mertes

Cara Mertes

Director, Documentary Film Program & Fund
Sundance Institute

With a career spanning over two decades in independent media, Mertes is a veteran producer, director, and advocate.

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As Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund, Cara Mertes oversees all activities of this signature Sundance Institute program, awarding grants to approximately 50 films globally per year. Mertes and her team have created and implemented several international multi-year documentary-based partnerships, including Stories of Change with Skoll Foundation, Good Pitch/Channel Four Foundation and the Arab Fund for Art and Culture, and leadership partnerships with Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, among others.

Prior to her work at Sundance, Mertes was Executive Producer of P.O.V. and Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc. As Executive Producer, Mertes was recognized with ten Emmys, three George Foster Peabody awards and two duPont-Columbia Awards. She has executive produced over a dozen independent documentaries, including Academy Award-nominees Street Fight; My Country, My Country and Nerakoon: the Betrayal. Born and raised in Kansas, she was a long-time New Yorker and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

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Kristin FeeleyKristin Feeley

Kristin Feeley

Associate Director
Sundance Institute

With a rich background overseas and in the States, Kristin brings dynamic experience to the many facets of her work.

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As Associate Director, Kristin oversees the year-round creative support activities for Documentary Film Program grantees, including four Creative Documentary Labs, the Fellows program at the Sundance Film Festival, at the Sundance Creative Producers Summit and Creative Partnership Convenings. She orchestrates DFP public programming including screenings for Sundance Institute and work-in-progress screenings. Feeley oversees DFP’s digital presence and DFP legacy activity, working with Sundance archives, Sundance Collection.

Prior to Sundance, she worked at several international film festivals and arts non-profits such as Tribeca Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. Kristin graduated from Mount Holyoke College with honors, and earned a Masters of Philosophy in Media Studies in Glasgow, Scotland, with a focus on early American documentary film.

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Sandy HerzSandy Herz

Sandy Herz

Director of Strategic Alliances
Skoll Foundation

An experienced business innovator, Sandy has the tremendous ability to build networks and help people navigate them efficiently.

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Sandy Herz is responsible for managing and expanding the foundation’s network of strategic relationships to accelerate the impact of social entrepreneurs’ innovations and to drive increased resources for Skoll’s portfolio of social entrepreneurs and broader market intelligence. Sandy joined the foundation in 2004 as Vice President, Marketing and Communications and built its initial “connect and celebrate” programs and initiatives. In 2007, she became Director of Film & Broadcast Partnerships and focused specifically on building the foundation’s portfolio of film and media initiatives, including the flagship Stories of Change partnership with Sundance as well as BBC World, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE/World, National Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Prior to joining the Skoll Foundation, Sandy worked with several innovative grassroots non-profit organizations and spent six years as Executive Director of the Software Development Forum, a leading Silicon Valley industry networking organization with 2000 members and 20 to 30 events each month designed to accelerate the adoption and proliferation of technology innovations. She received a Bachelor of History and International Relations from Brown University, a Masters in Administration and Policy Analysis from the Stanford University School of Education and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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Patricia FinneranPatricia Finneran

Patricia Finneran

Producer, Creative Partnerships, Documentary Film Program
Sundance Institute

From short films to large documentary festivals, Patricia finds unique ways to propel change through storytelling.

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Patricia has worked at the intersection of storytelling and social engagement for two decades, creating original content or leading film programs that advance social dialogue and change. In 2008, she joined Sundance where she produces partnerships that advance the impact of the DFP, including ‘Stories of Change,’ with the Skoll Foundation and The Good Pitch, with the BritDoc Foundation.

She represents the DFP at forums and festivals and has spoken on panels or moderated at HotDocs; Sheffield; the IFP/UN’s Envision; and Making Your Media Matter, among others. She was Project Director on Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, a Sundance initiative created with the federal cultural agencies.

From 2004-2008, as Director of SILVERDOCS, she oversaw AFI’s partnership with Discovery Communications, the largest real-world media company and created the International Documentary Conference, with support from CPB. Under her leadership, SILVERDOCS became the largest documentary festival in the US. She joined the IFP in 2000, and became Artistic Director, IFP Market in 2003. Patricia worked with USIA (part of the State Department), and with the IMF, creating short films on global economic transformation. She did graduate studies in film at the AFI Conservatory and later worked as a creative executive developing feature films in Hollywood. She holds a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University.

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