Sterling Van Wagenen

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Sterling Van Wagenen is an American film and stage producer, writer, and director. He is a cofounder of the Sundance Film Festival, and, in association with Robert Redford, he was the founding executive director of the Sundance Institute.[1][2][3][4][5]


He has directed four feature films as well as several documentaries and television episodes, and has produced over fourteen feature films, documentaries, and television series, including the Academy Award winning The Trip to Bountiful, co-produced with Horton Foote and starring Geraldine Page and John Heard. He collaborated again with Foote on Convicts, starring Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.[6] In 1986 he and Foote were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as producers of The Trip to Bountiful, and in 1987 they won a Wise Owl Award for the film. In 1992, he won a Crystal Heart Award as director of Alan and Naomi.[7]

From 1999 to 2004, Van Wagenen served as Director of the School of Film and Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. Currently, he is the Producer-in-Residence at the University of Utah, a partner in Pearl Farm Entertainment, based in Los Angeles.[8][9]

Personal Life[edit]

He is married to Marilee Jeppson, and they have six children and 20 grandchildren.[10][11]

Child molestation incident[edit]

On January 4, 2019, The Truth & Transparency Foundation, a nonprofit group affiliated with the MormonLeaks website, posted audio in which Van Wagenen holds a conversation with a man identified by the alias "David". In the recording, Van Wagenen confesses to molesting the 13-year-old "David" in 1993 during a sleepover.[12] At the time, Van Wagenen confessed the incident to his Stake President and a detective. According to a police report, no charges were filed in the case because the victim's parents declined to pursue them. Van Wagenen was disfellowshipped for 2 years by the LDS Church.[13]


  1. ^ Benson, Lee (January 21, 2011). "About Utah: Utah Valley resident Sterling Van Wagenen was there before Redford". Deseret News. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  2. ^ Moore, Roger (June 12, 2011). "The Redford bio, a bit too 'authorized' for my tastes". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Coates, Kristen. "Becoming Sundance: The Development of America's Premiere Film Festival". The Film Stage. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Sterling G Van Wagenen (Faculty Profile)". University of Utah. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  5. ^ Eash, Candy. "Sterling Van Wagenen (interview)". Mormon Artist. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Sterling Van Wagenen". IMDB. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Sterling Van Wagenen: Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Sterling G Van Wagenen (Faculty Profile)". University of Utah. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  9. ^ Eash, Candy. "Sterling Van Wagenen (interview)". Mormon Artist. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Peace Officer Crew". Peace Officer. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Margaret Blair Young: Biography". Kickstarter. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  12. ^ Miller, Jessica. "Noted Latter-day Saint filmmaker admits to molesting boy in 1993; victim wonders why church never offered him help". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  13. ^ Forgie, Adam (4 February 2019). "LDS temple video director, Sundance co-founder admits to child molestation, claims website". KUTV. Retrieved 5 February 2019.