2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: AGGIE

AGGIE | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

AGGIE
Catherine Gund profiles her mother, the influential art collector, philanthropist, and social justice advocate, Agnes Gund.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

Collector and philanthropologist Agnes “Aggie” Gund sounded a rallying cry that reverberated throughout the art world when she sold a beloved painting from her collection to fund criminal-justice reform. Roy Lichtenstein’s Masterpiece sold for an impressive 165 million dollars, and Aggie’s nonprofit initiative – the Art for Justice Fund – was born, bridging “blue chip” art and serving the common good. AGGIE offers access to the world of a woman who has perpetually defied what’s expected of her.

Emmy-nominated director Catherine Gund captures honest conversations between Aggie and renowned artists, curatorial peers, and her grandchildren to craft an intimate portrait of her mother. The humble and endearingly reluctant subject opens up about her upbringing and the breadth of her impressive career (including her tenure as the president of the Museum of Modern Art). Aggie’s appetite for disrupting the status quo dilates to a broader discussion about the intersection of art and social action. Catherine Gund’s film is a compelling look at an activist who recognizes the power of art to open minds and the urgency of investing in social change.

Some Background:

Director/Producer/Writer:

  • Catherine Gund
    Past Sundance docs:

    AMERICA (2019, short, producer)
    WHOSE STREETS? (2017, consulting producer)

    The Emmy-nominated Gund produces through Aubin Pictures, which she founded in 1996 following extensive activist video work centered around HIV/AIDS activism and the LGBTQ community through the ACT UP/NY video collective, DIVA TV, and Paper Tiger Television. This is her seventh feature, for which she also serves as one of the cinematographers. Gund is also a consulting producer on fellow 2020 Documentary Premieres title DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN. She recently has taken over as board president of the George Gund Foundation, a charity founded by her grandfather, for which she has served as a board member for more than 20 years.

Producer:

  • Tanya Selvaratnam

    Writer, activist, and Emmy-nominated Aubin Pictures producer Selvaratnam previously produced Sundance alumni fiction feature ON_LINE.

Associate Producers:

  • Polina Buchak & Arielle C Knight

    This is the first Sundance credit for Aubin Pictures’ Buchak and Knight.

Executive Producers:

  • Sarah Arison

    Philanthropist Arison is president of the Arison Arts Foundation, which supports emerging artists and institutions. She is a trustee of MoMA, American Ballet Theatre, Brooklyn Museum, the National YoungArts Foundation, and New World Symphony, among several other arts organizations. Arison previously co-produced the doc feature THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY.

  • Geralyn White Dreyfous
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    ALWAYS IN SEASON (2019)
    THE GREAT HACK (2019)
    SHOOTING THE MAFIA (2019)
    306 HOLLYWOOD (2018)
    GENERATION WEALTH (2018)
    BISBEE ’17 (2018)
    OF FATHERS AND SONS (2018)
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT (2018)
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR (2019)
    BENDING THE ARC (2017)
    STEP (2017)

    The Oscar and Emmy-winning co-founder of both Impact Partners and Gamechanger Films also has produced several Sundance fiction and VR alumni projects and has served as a creative advisor for Sundance’s Catalyst Forum. For the 2020 festival, she also serves as executive producer for SPACESHIP EARTH and US KIDS in the US Documentary Competition; THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS (in the World Cinema Documentary Competition); ON THE RECORD, ASSASSINS, and GIVING VOICE (in Documentary Premieres); BORN INTO BROTHELS (in From the Collection); and is executive producer/key collaborator for the New Frontier exhibition PERSUASION MACHINES.

  • George Gund IV Family

    George Gund IV is Catherine Gund’s first cousin, president of Gund Real Estate Group, and trustee of the George Gund Foundation, among other charitable organizations with which he is involved. Gund IV is the son of the late George Gund III, a prominent businessman, philanthropist, producer, and supporter of various film institutions, including the Sundance Institute, where he served as a longtime trustee.

  • Adam Lewis & Melony Lewis

    Adam and Melony Lewis are founders of BAMM Ventures, focused on world-positive investments. They are members of Impact Partners.

  • Regina K Scully
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE (2019)
    ALWAYS IN SEASON
    THE GREAT HACK
    306 HOLLYWOOD
    GENERATION WEALTH
    BISBEE ’17
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
    THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING (2018)
    STEP
    UNREST
    DOLORES (2017)

    The Artemis Rising Foundation founder and CEO is an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated social entrepreneur and philanthropist focused on transforming culture through media, education, and the arts. She also executive produced US KIDS, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, and ON THE RECORD in this year’s festival.

  • Jack Shear

    Shear is an acclaimed photographer and curator, and president of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, his longtime partner. He also serves on the Prints & Drawings Committee at MoMA.

  • Jon Stryker & Slobodan Randjelovic

    Stryker is an architect, philanthropist, activist, MoMA trustee, and the founder/president of Arcus Foundation, which supports LGBT rights and great apes conservation. His husband, Randjelovic, is on the board of Arcus, and is also an architect, designer, and photographer.

  • Alice & Tom Tisch

    Alice and Tom Tisch are philanthropists, supporting the arts, education, and health and social services through the Alice M and Thomas J Tisch Foundation. Alice is a trustee of MoMA, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and the NYU Langone Medical Center. Tom is managing partner of NYC investment firm Four Partners, a trustee of NYU Langone Medical Center, and the former chancellor of Brown University.

Co-Executive Producers:

  • Blavatnik Family Foundation

    Founded by British philanthropist and businessman Sir Leonard Blavatnik, the Blavatnik Family Foundation has supported scientific research, higher education, and key cultural institutions, including MoMA, the Tate Modern, Carnegie Hall, the British Museum, the Royal Opera House, among many others.

  • Dorothy Lichtenstein

    Lichtenstein is president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, dedicated to advancing the understanding of the work of her late husband. She serves on the boards of several arts and cultures organizations, including Studio in a School, Studio Institute, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

  • Susan and David Rockefeller
    Past Sundance docs:

    AQUARELA (2019)
    EASTER SNAP (2019, short)
    HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING (2018)
    STRONG ISLAND (2017)
    CONCERNING VIOLENCE (2014)

    Susan Rockefeller is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, and philanthropist, and a partner in Louverture Films. She also associated produced Sundance alumni fiction feature CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR. David Rockefeller Jr is a businessman and philanthropist supporting the arts, education, and the environment. He is a life trustee of MoMA and trustee of the David Rockefeller Fund.

Editor:

  • Gil Seltzer

    This is Seltzer’s first Sundance credit. He previously cut Gund’s feature documentary DISPATCHES FROM CLEVELAND.

Assistant Editors:

  • Jacqueline Basse

    This is Basse’s first Sundance project.

  • Mary Kerr

    Kerr is a veteran film festival programmer, documentary producer, and editor.

Why You Should Watch:
With the intimacy that comes from being a family member, Catherine Gund is able to elicit refreshing candor from her humble but accomplished mother. Far from being simply a love letter to a parent, however, the film foregrounds Agnes Gund’s commitment to social justice and the role art can and should play in the concerns of larger society.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile
Website

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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