Funa Maduka among 2023 Sundance Film Festival Jurors

Funa Maduka among 2023 Sundance Film Festival Jurors

Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Sixteen critical voices from around the world across film, art, and culture will grant this year’s awards for feature and short films at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, which kicked off last Wednesday, in Utah, United States. Among them is Nigerian filmmaker, Funa Maduka. She is distinguished as one of the three jury members of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, alongside Shozo Ichiyama and Annemarie Jacir.  The festival closes on Monday, January 29.

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced granting awards for artistic and cinematic excellence at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, including the five jury members – Dr. Heather Berlin, Jim Gaffigan, Dr. Mandë Holford, Shalini Kantayya, and Lydia Dean Pilcher – who awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Film Prize. This year’s jurors include: Jeremy O. Harris, Eliza Hittman, and Marlee Matlin for U.S. Dramatic Competition. 

Others are W. Kamau Bell, Ramona Diaz, and Carla Gutierrez for U.S. Documentary Competition; and Karim Amer, Petra Costa, and Alexander Nanau for World Cinema Documentary Competition; Madeleine Olnek for the NEXT competition section; Destin Daniel Cretton, Marie-Louise Khondji, and Deborah Stratman for the Short Film Program Competition.

The awards ceremony will be an intimate gathering of artists comprising the festival lineup, with the Festival’s social channels sharing the award recipients as they are announced. The awards for feature and short films will be announced on Friday, January 27.  

Funa Maduka is an award-winning filmmaker and the former head of International Original Films at Netflix where she worked with the world’s top global and emerging filmmakers. Over six years, she was positioned at the frontline of the company’s global expansion, managing the launch of the film offering across 100+ countries.

She pioneered Netflix’ move into international film production, building a development slate across Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa.  Meanwhile her film acquisitions brought Netflix its first film nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Previously she worked at Participant Media developing and managing campaigns for film and television projects.

Funa is credited with writing, producing and directing the first Nigerian film to world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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