How Did I Get Here?

Keri Putnam

Executive director, Sundance Institute
  • Education
  • Princeton Day School, Princeton, N.J., class of 1983
  • Harvard, class of 1987
  • Work Experience
  • 1986
    Williamstown Theatre Festival, summer apprentice
  • 1987–90
    Assistant, assistant manager, manager, HBO
  • 1990–92
    Freelance TV and film producer
  • 1992–2002
    Vice president, senior VP for original programming, HBO Films
  • 2002–06
    Executive VP, HBO Films
  • 2006–09
    President of production, Miramax Films
  • 2010–Present
    Executive director, Sundance Institute
  • Life Lessons
  • “Find something you are uncomfortable with and practice it.”
  • “Mentoring younger colleagues builds a wonderful network.”
  • “Even a job that seems far from your career goals can expose you to ideas you will carry with you.”
  • “I fell in love with theater early, maybe even in middle school. I was a lead in Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth—a very, very poor lead, but game!”
  • “The apprentice program is for aspiring actors, but I ended up in the literary office. It opened up a whole new world.”
  • With Hillary Clinton and Cher at an HBO event, 1996
  • “I lived in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was cool. It was really exciting to be in the creative community in New York at that time.”
  • In 2009, Miramax is shut down by its parent company, Walt Disney
  • “There were probably jobs available to me that would have offered more money and more power. But for me, it was important to step back and figure out what I enjoyed and cared about.”
  • During high school, 1983
    “Harvard didn’t have a theater major, so I designed one.”
  • “I came to HBO at a time when, if you were an eager learner, you could grow with the company.”
  • “In the early 2000s, with The Sopranos and Sex and the City being launched, you could see the growth area at the network wasn’t going to be movies.”
  • With director Ryan Coogler and actor Kerry Washington at a benefit for the institute, 2013
  • “I love working with artists. I always have. I really believe that artists are critical to the richness of the culture in which we’re living.”