Jeff Orlowski Named First Sundance Institute | Discovery Impact Fellow

Announcement Made At Discovery Channel’s Reception At 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Coincides With New Environmental Series DISCOVERY IMPACT

Debuting Specials in 2016 and An Official Series Launch in 2017


(Park City, UT) – John Hoffman, Executive Vice President of Documentaries and Specials, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, announced award-winning filmmaker Jeff Orlowski (“Chasing Ice”) as the first Sundance Institute | Discovery Impact Fellow at Discovery Channel’s 2016 Sundance Film Festival reception.

Discovery Channel’s mission of environmental storytelling created to ignite change could not be illustrated better than by the work Jeff has produced,” says Hoffman. “His Sundance-winning “Chasing Ice” shines a light on the global loss of glaciers, and we look forward to seeing what else Jeff has up his sleeve as he continues to make great content in this space.”

In addition, Discovery Channel unveiled information on DISCOVERY IMPACT, a slate of groundbreaking documentaries focusing on humankind’s impact on the environment and what individuals and society as a whole can do to solve some of the largest problems facing the planet.  Prior to the DISCOVERY IMPACT series launch in 2017, Discovery Channel will premiere DROUGHT as a DISCOVERY IMPACT special in 2016.  From five Academy® Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (“Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,”) Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, U.S.A,) Alan and Susan Raymond, (I Am A Promise:  The Children of Stanton Elementary School”) and award-winning director Jesse Moss (“The Overnighters,”) the film looks at the water crisis affecting 40% of the U.S. population. Presented in association with ProPublica, DROUGHT presents surprising stories that reveal the causes and consequences of our water disaster-in-the-making and proposes some innovative solutions.

“At Discovery, we want to support the best environmental storytellers that ignite our audience to engage in the most critical issues of our time and act upon them.” states Rich Ross, Group President Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel.  “As demonstrated with the purchase of RACING EXTINCTION at Sundance last year and its global premiere, reaching 35.6 million total viewers worldwide and 300 million Facebook impressions, Discovery demonstrated it can and will give these films a platform to get their messages out to the world.”

“ProPublica published Abrahm Lustgarten’s series ‘Killing the Colorado’ because we felt it was urgent to get this information before the people and policymakers most affected by the crisis, explains Stephen Engelberg ProPublica Editor In Chief.  “With Discovery Channel and these award-winning filmmakers bringing the messages of the stories to film, we know that people will pay even more attention to the dire situation in the West.”

“Collaborating with Discovery and ProPublica is an exciting endeavor and the filmmakers are honored to share the messages of the film with the world,” says Epstein, who along with Jeffrey Friedman, serves as DROUGHT’s executive producers.

Established in 2016, the Sundance Institute | Discovery Impact Fellowship is given to a filmmaker who has dedicated his or her body of work to telling stories that reflect the fragile and changing nature of our planet in the service of protecting it. The grant money is intended to help filmmakers sustain their commitment to environmental work and can be used at their discretion.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute said, “We’re thrilled for the Discovery Channel’s support of our Documentary Film Program and shared commitment to creating sustainable careers for filmmakers working to artfully bring these stories to the screen.”

“It is an honor to be associated with Discovery Channel and Sundance Institute,” says Orlowski.  “Both have been supportive of my work in the past, and I thank them for all they are doing in the world of filmmaking.”

ORLOWSKI served as director, producer, and cinematographer on the Sundance Film Festival Award-Winning film, Chasing Ice. Orlowski’s feature-length documentary was invited to screen at the White House, the United Nations and the United States Congress and has captured more than 40 awards from film festivals around the world. It went on to receive an Academy® Award nomination for Best Original Song, and has screened on all seven continents. Orlowski is the founder of Exposure Labs, a production company geared toward socially relevant filmmaking. Orlowski served as producer for Exposure Labs’s most recent film, “Frame By Frame,” which had its world premiere at SXSW.  He has traveled on tour representing Sundance Institute, President Obama’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities, and the National Endowment of the Arts, and among his many upcoming projects includes a film documenting the health of the world’s coral reefs.


About Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 210 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit


About Sundance Institute

Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Citizenfour, The Look of Silence s, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


About ProPublica

ProPublica is an independent nonprofit journalism organization in New York. It is committed to journalism with moral force meant to hold accountable those charged with the public trust.