Shari Frilot

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Shari Frilot (born June 18, 1965) is an artist, filmmaker, and chief curator of the New Frontier program at the Sundance Film Festival.[1] She is the director of two short films (Fly Boy, 1989 and Strange & Charmed, 2003), and one documentary feature (Black Nations/Queer Nations?, 1995). Frilot has been chief curator of the New Frontier program since 2007, where she leads programming of new experimental American film and has developed an exhibition space at the Sundance Film Festival which hosts "digital artworks, media installations, and multimedia performance,"[2] including cinematic and artistic projects that make use of virtual reality technology.[3] In her role as chief curator of New Frontier, the integration of new technologies has included an international open call for VR-based projects, integration of haptic technologies, and the platforming of projects that made use of artificial intelligence in their creation.[4] Frilot has described the work of New Frontier by saying, "We wanted to cultivate an artistic and social environment to disarm people when they entered the space. It was a way of unlocking inhibitions and encouraging audiences to think about opening themselves up to the new rules and cinematic suggestions which the New Frontier artists are inviting you to consider."[5]

Her interests as a curator and a filmmaker are informed by her early experiences within a creative community of queer artists of color.[6] Alongside documentary filmmakers like Marlon Riggs, Cheryl Dunye, and Isaac Julien, Frilot was part of a generation of African-American directors whose work explicitly addressed issues of racial and sexual identity in the last two decades of twentieth century.[7] From 1992 to 1996, she served as Director of the gay and lesbian experimental film festival MIX festival in New York City, where she also co-founded the first gay Latin American subsidiary film festivals, MIX BRASIL and MIX MEXICO. She also served as co-director of Programming for OUTFEST from 1998 to 2001, where she founded the festival's Platinum Oasis, which introduced cinematic performance installation and performance to the festival for the first time.[8] In 2010, she was a featured speaker at the University of California, Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, where she presented a talk entitled "The Power of the Erotic: Curatorial Strategies at Sundance's New Frontier."[9]


  1. ^ Herndon, Jessica (January 21, 2016). "How Sundance Programmer Shari Frilot Keeps the Film Festival Diverse". Essence.
  2. ^ Welbon, Yvonne; Juhasz, Alexandra (2018). Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0822371854.
  3. ^ "New Frontier exhibition at Sundance focuses on the future". Los Angeles Times. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  4. ^ Jacobson, Ken (2018-03-28). "Creating a New World: A Conversation with Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier". International Documentary Association. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  5. ^ Mousley, Sheryl; Frilot, Shari (2016). "New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival: 10 Years of Changing Boundaries". Leonardo. 49 (2): 109–112. doi:10.1162/LEON_a_01198. ISSN 0024-094X. S2CID 57564498.
  6. ^ Ferrera-Balanquet, Raúl; Harris, Thomas Allen (1997). "Narrating Our History: A Dialogue among Queer Media Artists from the African Diaspora". XII Black International Cinema Anthology 1993-1997. Fountainhead.
  7. ^ "Documentary Film". Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history : the Black experience in the Americas. Palmer, Colin A., 1944-2019. (2nd ed.). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. 2006. p. 629. ISBN 0028658167. OCLC 60323165.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Rastegar, Roya (Summer 2012). "Curating 'Physical Cinema' at Sundance's New Frontier". The Scholar and Feminist Online: Barnard Center for Research on Women. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  9. ^ "The Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium". ATC Lecture Series. Retrieved 2019-10-27.