On the heels of one of the best-received Sundance programs in a long time, Geoffrey Gilmore (the festival's director of the past 19 years) has announced that he's stepping down and heading east, where he'll become the new Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. In a statement released this morning, Sundance Institute president Robert Redford said (rather cryptically), "Our Festival’s 25th anniversary has been a time of candid reflection. I support completely his decision. The timing is right to move on." Meanwhile, Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal said, "As one of the most accomplished creative forces in our industry, Geoff is the ideal person to guide content development for Tribeca Enterprises. His talent and experience will benefit Tribeca immeasurably, particularly in creating new strategic alliances and opportunities."
What does this mean to you, the average movie buff? Probably not much, but given that Tribeca Enterprises' main function is to mount the still-struggling-to-find-an-identity Tribeca Film Festival, and given the troubles that Sundance-nurtured independent movies have been experiencing over the past few years, Gilmore's change of address either signals the rise of Tribeca as a power-player in the art-film business, or an open acknowledgment that Sundance's days of launching new talent are numbered. Either way, it's another data point for those charting the rapid changes in independent cinema in the early 21st century.