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NBCUniversal at Sundance 2024

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February 12, 2024

NBCUniversal’s entertainment television teams made a splash at the 40th annual Sundance Film Festival with more activations than ever before. Our presence was a major success in reaching tastemakers for our television content across NBCU Entertainment and Universal Studio Group (USG), as well as introducing content creators to NBCU LAUNCH, our umbrella brand for the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across our entertainment television portfolio.  

Crafting the Culture with NBCU’s Creative Powerhouses

NBCUniversal kicked things off with an impactful panel conversation at the seventh annual MACRO LODGE, a destination that celebrates people of color at Sundance.

The panel entitled “Crafting the Culture with NBCU’s Creative Powerhouses” featured creators and executive producers from hit series across the NBCU portfolio including Nkechi Okoro Carroll (NBC’s “Found”), Debra Martin Chase (Universal Television’s “The Equalizer”), Sonja Warfield (Universal Television’s “The Gilded Age”) and Debby Wolfe (NBC’s “Lopez vs Lopez”).  
 
NBCU LAUNCH head Jeanne Mau and MACRO’s Chief Brand Officer Stacy Walker King introduced the panel. The conversation was moderated by Refinery29’s Unbothered Global Deputy Director Kathleen Newman-Bremang.

Before a packed house filled with a very engaged audience, Nkechi discussed her unconventional pathway to becoming a showrunner, Debra shared how her producer’s eye led her to create content that has impacted the lives of millennial and Gen Z women, Sonja revealed how “The Gilded Age” approached uncovering the hidden history of the Black elite in the late 1800s, and Debby talked about how our NBC TV Writers Program gave her a big break and that “Lopez vs Lopez” is arguably the first series created from a Tik Tok.  

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Sundance Institute’s Native Forum Celebration Presented by NBCU LAUNCH  

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NBCU LAUNCH was a presenting sponsor for the Sundance Institute’s Native Forum Celebration that honored Indigenous filmmakers and storytellers.  

Jeanne Mau delivered remarks sharing LAUNCH’s commitment to advancing Indigenous stories and collaborating with partners like the Sundance Institute to foster visibility, community, and opportunity for Indigenous storytellers.  

The event honored the Indigenous filmmakers whose work were official selections at the festival, while also acknowledging the incredible community of fellows, grantees, and alumni of the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program.  
 
The highlight of the event was the announcement of the 2024 Merata Mita Fellowship Program, an annual fellowship named in honor of the late Maori filmmaker. Indigenous Program Director Adam Piron also announced the five 2023 Native Lab fellows, including actor and writer Jana Schmieding (Peacock’s “Rutherford Falls”), and acknowledged the seven Indigenous-made projects from around the world which premiered at this year’s festival. 

20th Edition of the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience Co-Sponsored by NBCU LAUNCH 

NBCU LAUNCH co-sponsored the 20th Edition of the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience and their “Meet the Filmmakers” Reception. During the event, the NBCU LAUNCH team met with talented AAPI content creators who want to transition into television.  

The event was supported by Asian American Media Alliance, Asians in Hollywood, CAPE, Kollaboration, David Magdael & Associates, and Visual Communications. 

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LAUNCH Talks: The Art of Content Acquisition at NBCUniversal 

To round out the week, NBCU LAUNCH hosted a panel titled “LAUNCH Talks: The Art of Content Acquisition at NBCUniversal” featuring senior-level executives from across the television portfolio. This panel marked the first time a major entertainment company hosted a conversation about acquisitions at Sundance. 

Moderated by Jeanne Mau, executives including Susie Kricena (SVP, Content Acquisitions, NBCU Entertainment, Jordan Moblo (EVP Creative Acquisitions & IP Management, USG), Matt Monos (SVP Content Acquisitions, NBCU Entertainment), Amanda Spain (Vice President, Longform Acquisitions, MSNBC Films), and Britney Williams (VP, Content Acquisitions, NBCU Entertainment) demystified the acquisition process from pitch to final delivery. 

Throughout the discussion which included an audience Q&A, panelists provided insight on the type of content they seek, and shared their best practices on pitching projects, giving attendees a behind-the-scenes perspective of the acquisitions landscape and how to navigate it. 

The LAUNCH Talks ended with a networking session where attendees spoke directly to the content acquisitions executives and the NBCU LAUNCH team.