Caroline Libresco is a leading film festival curator, producer, story advisor, and program strategist who recently wrapped nineteen years as a lead programmer at the Sundance Film Festival. From 2000-2019, she selected films in all sections—co-leading documentary programming and spearheading international competitions.
She was founding director and chief curator of Sundance Institute’s Catalyst Program, where, in the program’s first six years, she created a community of 100+ high net worth film investors and raised $32+ million for 89 extraordinary projects, including Writing with Fire, Crip Camp, Truffle Hunters, Social Dilemma, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Cartel Land, The Witch, Sorry to Bother You, and 40 Year Old Version. Additionally, Caroline co-founded the Sundance Creative Producing Program and led the Sundance Women’s Initiative, generating groundbreaking research and creating robust fellowships and public programs. Among the 40+ women fellows Caroline supported and mentored is an impressive roster of now well-known directors including Janicza Bravo, Lyric Cabral, Marta Cunningham, Ramona Diaz, Sydney Freeland, Marielle Heller, Eliza Hittman, Grace Lee, and Jennifer Phang.
Currently, Libresco is co-executive director of Jewish Story Partners, a new philanthropic film fund which awards $1.1 million annually to excellent documentary films that expand the Jewish story. Established in partnership with Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation in 2021, in its first two years Jewish Story Partners has funded 71 projects including Lukas Lorentzin’s A Still Small Voice (Sundance 2023), Paula Eiselt’s Under G-d (Sundance 2023), Marquise Stillwell and Petter Ringbom’s This World is Not My Own (SXSW 2023), Ondi Timoner’s Last Flight Home (Sundance 2022, Paramount+), Julia Mintz’s Four Winters (Film Forum 2022), Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea (Tribeca 2022) and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s The Conspiracy (Doc NYC 2022).
Prior to the above, Caroline was a program and communications executive at Independent Television Service (ITVS), senior publicist for the San Francisco Film Festival, associate director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and associate director of development at both UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Library Foundation.
For 25 years, Caroline has been an active creative producer and writer/story editor. Most recently, she produced and story-produced the documentary feature film Food and Country, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Previously she produced Peabody Award-winning documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (POV), Tribeca jury prize-winning documentary Sunset Story (Independent Lens), Sandra-Oh starring featurette Barrier Device, and fiction indie Fanci’s Persuasion, starring Justin Vivian Bond. She also executive produced and acted as story consultant on 2022’s Our American Family (Sundance Channel/AMC) and 2020’s Disclosure, a Netflix Original.
Caroline consults on story and pitching to a variety of non-fiction filmmakers. She also provides strategic, curatorial, and programmatic consultation to festivals and companies. Past clients include AGC Studios, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Hot Docs’ Blue Ice Lab, Harvard Kennedy School, and the Zurich Film Festival. A frequent moderator, artist interviewer, advisor, and grants panelist, she has served on dozens of film festival juries including Big Sky Film Festival, Cartagena Film Festival, CPH:Dox, Doc Aviv, Gdynia Film Festival, HotDocs, Istanbul Independent Film Festival, IDFA, Jerusalem Film Festival, OneWorld (Prague), OutFest, Santiago (Chile) Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, and the Sheffield Film Festival. She has acted as nominator for awards including Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Award, Harvard Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award, United States Artists, McKnight Fellowships, and the MacArthur Genius Award. She has been a project advisor and mentor in such programs as Dok Incubator, Ex Oriente, FIND Documentary Story Labs, Santa Fe College of Art, and NALIP Story Lab.
Caroline is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where she serves on the Documentary Branch Executive Committee. She was a member of the boards of the International Documentary Association (2013-2022) and Women Make Movies (2009-2013).She holds an MFA from UCLA Film School, an MA in History of Religion from Harvard Divinity School, and a BA from Oberlin College.