University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics Makes Debut at Sundance

Inaugural Sundance Summit merges film and public policy discourse.

(Jan.26, 2015) —Lights, camera, action! The Sundance Film Festival is in full swing, and with it, the glamour and glitz that accompanies Hollywood’s arrival to Park City for a front seat to some of the best features in indie film.

This year, the Hinckley Institute of Politics is taking part in the annual event, through a new lecture called the Sundance Summit —and the public is invited to be a part of the conversation.

While Park City hosts the world’s leading creatives during the Sundance Film Festival, this groundbreaking meeting of minds will champion the critical topic in “Clean Air. Clean Water. Clean Energy—A Blueprint for a Better Future.”

In addition to featuring remarks from key policy makers including Gov. Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright and Utah Clean Air Director Ted Wilson, the Sundance Summit will hear from filmmakers from the Academy Award-winning film “The Cove”who will debut a new film at this year’s festival titled “Racing Extinction.” 

The idea for the Sundance Summit came from a 2014 UN report stating that it is not a matter of if climate change will affect humanity, but how climate change will affect humanity. The western United States not only experiences some of the worst effects of climate change (droughts, air pollution) but also some of the most exciting innovations. Accordingly, during the Sundance Film Festival, when thousands gather in the mountains of Utah to celebrate the power of film, leaders will simultaneously explore the intersection of clean air, clean water, and clean energy.

The Sundance Summit, which is co-sponsored by the Diplomatic Courier, will take place Jan. 27 from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Leonardo (209 E. 500 South). Admission is open to the public and is free for University of Utah students and professors with university IDs, but RSVPs are encouraged to Ellesse Balli at or 801-581-8501.


  Governor Gary Herbert Welcome Remarks: “Blueprint for a Better Tomorrow” (8:45 AM)

  Mayor Ralph Becker Keynote Remarks: “Smart Cities” (9:00 AM)

  Clean Air Panel (9:45 AM)

o   Ted Wilson, Executive Director of UCAIR and former Salt Lake City Mayor

o   Dustin Haggett, Co-Founder & CEO, Impact Hub Salt Lake

o   Ryan Evans, VP, Business & Community Relations, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce

o   Steven Bergstrom, Director of the Office of Sustainability, Intermountain Healthcare

Clean Energy Panel (10:40 AM) 

o   Alan Matheson, Senior Environmental Advisor to Governor Herbert

o   Priyanka Bakaya, CEO and Founder, PK Clean

o   Todd Stevens, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Renewable Tech Ventures

o   Sarah Wright, Executive Director, Utah Clean Energy

  Public Private Partnerships for Action (11:20 AM)

o   Ian Shelledy, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Sustainable Startups

o   Robert Grow, President and CEO Envision Utah

o   Bill Wilson, President, Sustain3 Inc.

 Luncheon Address and Preview Screening (12:30 AM)

o   Leilani Munter, Renewable NASCAR driver—Lunch Remarks

o   Academy Award Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove”—Q&A

2015 Sundance Documentary “Racing Extinction”—Sneak Preview

Media Contacts For This Story

Communications and Academic Coordinator, Hinckley Institute of Politics
Office Phone: 801-581-8501
communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications
Office Phone: 801-581-6773
Cell Phone: 801-608-9888