The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Reel Stories: Susan Swartz Applauds Sundance Film Festival


One of the joys of living in Susan’s hometown of Park City, Utah is experiencing the energy of the annual Sundance Film Festival here each January. “For me, watching these films is like going to graduate school, ” explains Susan, “learning about important subjects that I often never even knew existed before.”

Sundance is especially meaningful to Susan, because of her intimate involvement as a producer in several films about pressing social issues. Both Susan and her husband Jim are founding members of Impact Partners, an organization that pairs independent filmmakers and investors. Over the past years, Impact Partners has produced many Sundance premieres. And 2013 was no exception.

Susan and Jim were thrilled to support a total of six films in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, which concluded earlier this week. This year’s films included the compelling sports documentary The Crash Reel, and the boundary-pushing Afternoon Delight, who’s director Jill Soloway nabbed the Sundance Directing Award. What’s more, American Promise, about what it means to be a minority at an exclusive school, won a Special Jury Prize, and the immigration murder mystery, Who Is Dayani Cristal? received the Cinematography Award.

But perhaps the film Susan is most proud of is Pandora’s Promise, which Jim produced. The feature-length documentary explores how and why mankind’s most feared and controversial technological discovery — nuclear power — is now passionately embraced by many of those who once led the charge against it. “It is so powerful to see a documentary that fundamentally changes the way you think about an issue,” marvels Susan.

Impact Partners Film DETROPIA at the Hamptons Film Festival

For those of you who might be on Long Island, Susan suggests attending the special screening of the Impact Partners film DETROPIA, hosted by Alec Baldwin, Saturday, July 21. This is part of a series of special screenings over the summer sponsored by the Hamptons Film Festival at East Hampton's Guild Hall. DETROPIA won the Editing Award at Sundance this year. It will have a limited theatrical release this Fall, and will premier on PBS in 2013.

If you're interested in attending this screening, tickets can be purchased online.

Impact Partners Film "Midway"

As a painter, Susan understands the power of an image and the impact of film. Through Impact Partners, the philanthropic venture film organization Susan and her husband Jim helped to found, they are supporting Midway, a film by Chris Jordon about the albatrosses on the Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent. 

Impact Partners Film Wins at Cannes Film Festival


An Impact Partners production, Sofia’s Last Ambulance, a film by Bulgarian born Ilian Metev, has won the France 4 Visionary Award at the Cannes Film Festival International Critics’ Week.

In a city where 13 ambulances struggle to serve 2 million people, Krassi, Mila and Plamen are unlikely heroes: chain smoking, filled with humor and relentless saving lives against all odds. Yet, the strain of a broken system is taking its toll. How long can they keep on fixing society’s injured until they lose their empathy? “Another major discovery… You feel this film in your gut, like a brick through a windshield” says Indiewire.


Hell and Back Again Academy Award Nomination

In the midst of Sundance 2012, Susan is delighted to report that the Impact Partners film and Sundance 2011 award winner Hell and Back Again has been nominated for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Embedded in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of a 25-year-old US Marine Sergeant. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man’s personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where he confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life. Contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, the film lays bare the true cost of war.

Susan is proud to part of this extraordinary group of filmmakers and supporters with impact.

Sundance Film Festival...Susan Swartz and a Greater Impact


Susan and her husband, Jim, are co-founders of Impact Partners, a philanthropic venture organization that supports independent films that address pressing social issues. Over the years, films they have supported have gone onto screen at major festivals all over the planet and to win significant accolades, including Academy Awards.

Now, Impact Partners is thrilled to announce that three of its newest films will premiere this month at the Sundance Film Festival in Susan’s hometown of Park City, Utah. One of the films, called The Queen of Versailles, is being further honored as the opening night film that sets the tone for the entire festival. Directed by Lauren Greenfield, the documentary follows a couple building the biggest house in America—a 90,000 sf. palace inspired by Versailles — when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.

Also showing for the first time at Sundance is David France’s documentary, How to Survive a Plague. This is the untold story of the intensive efforts that turned AIDS into a manageable condition, and the improbable group of (mostly HIV-positive) young men and women whose resilience broke through a time of rampant death and political indifference.

Veteran Sundancers, co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady return this year with Detropia (formerly titled Detroit Hustles Harder). Their latest documentary explores the idea that the woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.

Now in its 34th year, the Sundance Film Festival has evolved to become what is arguably the most meaningful celebration of independent cinema on the planet. “I feel incredibly blessed to have this wellspring of insight, creativity and important conversation in my own backyard,” says Susan. “Jim and I are honored to have supported these three tremendous films and look forward to the world’s response to them.”

Films Supported by Susan Reach Wider Audiences

Two films supported by Susan and Jim Swartz and the Impact Partners film fund have leapt beyond the festival circuit and into public audience this season:


Miss Representation, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, had its broadcast debut in October on OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network. Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. To learn more about the film’s concurrent education and engagement efforts, visit


Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology also premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had began its global theatrical run in September. Directed by veteran documentary-maker and social media icon, Tiffany Shlain, Connected is an exhilarating rollercoaster ride that explores what it means to be connected in the 21st century. For more information, visit

On December 1, both Shlain and Newsom are speaking at the TEDxWomen conference, a bicoastal conversation broadcast across the planet about how women and girls are re-shaping the future. Watch live or join the conversation at

Susan Swartz Lauded As Utah Artist And National Treasure

Susan is stunned and grateful to have been lauded so thoroughly by friends and supporters at a celebration on October 15 in the extraordinary Zions Bank Founders Room in downtown Salt Lake City.

In a room packed with admirers, peers and friends, Susan was honored as national treasure who sheds a flattering light on the state of Utah. Hosts Scott Anderson (president and CEO, Zions Bank), Geralyn Dreyfous (founder and chair, Utah Film Center and Impact Partners) and Byron Russell (Byron Russell LLC) celebrated not only Susan’s artistic talents, but also her life-changing generosity and her gift of deep and abiding friendship.

A Zions Bank-commissioned painting and other private collection works by Susan were on display to enhance the special video screening of the opening reception of her recently-concluded National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) exhibition, Seasons of the Soul.

Remarks Susan about the evening:

With the preparation and opening of any exhibition of paintings, there is so much work, anticipation and excitement for the artist. One continues to bask in the glow throughout its life in the gallery. What one is less prepared for are those wistful and bittersweet feelings at its quiet closure — a very private end to a public experience. For me, this celebration brought an unexpectedly joyful conclusion to my NMWA exhibition. To celebrate with good friends and so many new friends was a glorious benediction.

See Jon Huntman's special message to Susan  ›

Susan Swartz and Impact Partners With Three Films at Sundance 2011

As an environmental and humanitarian activist, Susan knows that documentary film can be one of the most powerful mediums for shedding light on pressing social issues. That’s why Susan and her husband, Jim, are founding members of Impact Partners, a unique organization that brings together filmmakers and investors. In recent years, Impact Partners has helped fund important and award-winning films like The CoveAn Inconvenient TruthThe Garden and Freeheld.

And this year, Susan is proud to announce that three Impact Partner films will be premiering next month at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Held in and around Park City, Utah on January 20-30, Sundance is considered the preeminent independent film festival in the nation, if not the world.

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