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Cleveland International Film Festival Executive Director

  • 1.  Cleveland International Film Festival Executive Director

    Posted 12-06-2023 15:05
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    The Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) Executive Director
    The Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) has a long-celebrated reputation as a visionary in the film arts, bringing dynamic, innovative programming from international artists to audiences since 1977. As CIFF enters its 48th year, the longstanding Executive Director is retiring and the Board of Directors is excited to announce that they are seeking candidates for the position.
    The next Executive Director will lead a vibrant organization, with a team that is inspired and committed to the power of the film arts to educate, entertain, and celebrate an inclusive human experience. CIFF is seeking a strategic thinker and transformational leader who will work with the Board to create the next chapter for CIFF as a world-class innovator in the film arts, a showcase for emerging and established filmmakers everywhere, and a champion of how film deepens understanding of the world and catalyzes positive change.
    The Cleveland International Film Festival has experienced tremendous growth and has built a strong national and international reputation. Serving more than 75,000 patrons through in-person and virtual experiences annually, the Festival is honored to present numerous competitions and awards that recognize participating filmmakers with over $130,000 in cash prizes. CIFF continues to be awarded and recognized for excellence:
    • CIFF is proud to be one of the few festivals in the world that is Academy Award® qualifying for all three categories of short films-live action, animated, and documentary.
    • In 2023 CIFF was once again ranked as one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, and named as one of MovieMaker Magazine's "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" and as one of the "25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World".
    The Cleveland International Film Festival continues to be an energizing force in advancing the cultural capital of the city of Cleveland and the metropolitan region and is now a Resident Company in Playhouse Square, a thriving center of Cleveland arts, culture, and business.
    The 48th Cleveland International Film Festival will continue its tradition and mission: to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community:
    • CIFF48 will announce its robust lineup in March 2024. The Festival will consist of hundreds of films, post-film conversations and Q&A with filmmakers, balloting, and cash awards.
    • More than $130,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to feature and short films through the Festival's esteemed audience and juried awards.
    • CIFF Speaks (the organization's podcast series) will be returning with episodes surrounding and during the Festival.
    • Each year CIFF commissions a local artist to create the Festival's coveted Filmmaker Awards. With more than 25 awards going to filmmakers from across the world, CIFF's locally designed and produced awards are a calling card of the thriving arts community in Cleveland, the region, and throughout Ohio.
    The story of the Cleveland International Film Festival is rich in history. The first Cleveland International Film Festival was presented from April 13 through June 2, 1977. Eight films from seven countries were shown at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights over this eight-week period. Developed as a subscription series, the first CIFF received substantial media attention and attendance indicated Clevelanders wanted a broader schedule. In 1991, CIFF moved to Tower City Cinemas in the heart of downtown Cleveland. At points during its nearly five-decade run, the festival has also put on additional programming and events at other local venues, including the Akron Art Museum, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin, the Capitol Theatre on Cleveland's west side, and Shaker Cinemas on Shaker Square.
    In December 2019, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to move the Film Festival from Tower City Cinemas to Playhouse Square, where CIFF is now a Resident Company. The move to Playhouse Square, which follows a 14-year run at the Cedar Lee Theatre and a 30-year run at Tower City Cinemas, marks the Festival's third home in the organization's history.
    Playhouse Square is a not-for-profit performing arts center whose mission is presenting and producing a wide variety of quality performing arts, advancing arts education, and creating a destination that is a superior location for entertainment, business, and residential living, thereby strengthening the economic vitality of the region. The Opportunity In recent years, CIFF has faced the same challenges that have faced all film festivals world-wide. The Cleveland International Film Festival has been successful in dealing with the unprecedented changes presented by the pandemic, which made the traditional, communal festival experience impossible. In addition, there have been external pressures introduced from the broader film industry and from changing revenue sources. Despite it all, CIFF has been able to adapt and emerge from these challenges and has maintained a strong reputation and brand with a well-established audience base and an experienced and competent operational staff.
    However, the lingering impact of these dramatic changes is evident and must be urgently dealt with as CIFF faces the future. It will be critical for the next Executive Director to quickly understand and scope the issues, build a new and transformational strategic framework, and lead the organization forward. As the 50th anniversary approaches in 2026, the Executive Director will also have the opportunity to launch a major fundraising campaign to mark this significant milestone.
    The Position
    Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) and execution of its mission. The next ED will be expected to guide and ensure the financial success of the organization, expand the contributed revenue streams, expand the reach of CIFF to increase the target audience attendance with a focus on intercultural fluency, and strengthen the Brand of the festival. The Executive Director provides full oversight of all aspects of the organization, including strategy, fundraising, finance, administration, human resources, branding and marketing, community engagement, operations, programs, and shaping the organizational structure. The Executive Director will manage a $3.2 MM budget and will manage a team of eight direct reports.
    Key Duties and Responsibilities
    Strategic Planning:
    • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, define, develop, and implement a new and transformational strategic plan.
    • Lead efforts to build a culture of equity and belonging and integrate DEI principles into CIFF's programs and strategies.
    • Oversee the development and presentation of the Film Festival and related programs.
    • Oversee exploration of new programmatic avenues, partnerships, and markets; establish relationships with funders as well as political and community leaders in support of innovative programmatic pursuits while maintaining the integrity and consistency of the CIFF mission.
    Financial Sustainability and Fundraising:
    • Lead, advance and diversify revenue generation and fund development efforts including annual campaign, grant proposals, and negotiations with current and potential funders.
    • Enthusiastically represent CIFF in the community, persuasively conveying its mission and vision, and inspiring and mobilizing donors and other stakeholders to engage in the Film Festival and related programs.
    Community Outreach and Audience Development:
    • Represent and connect CIFF to the community at large to continue and grow CIFF's positive brand and its relationships with stakeholders and target audiences.
    • Sustain and expand communications - from web presence to external relations - with the goal of maximizing CIFF's brand.
    Financial Management and Operations:
    • Oversee day-to-day business functions to ensure the organization's sustainability, including financial results and staff functions; evaluate and improve processes as needed.
    • Direct and manage day-to-day operations of the organization while maintaining and enhancing a strong, healthy organizational culture.
    • Ensure effective systems and metrics are in place to track financial results, evaluate program components, and measure operational successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
    Organizational Development:
    • Maintain a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top-quality people, including providing professional development opportunities. • Create and promote a positive, multicultural, and inclusive work environment that evolves with organizational needs and supports consistency with the organization's mission and strategic objectives, operational methods, and data collection needs.
    Board Relationships and Governance:
    • Work closely with the Board President to increase board skills, committee effectiveness, and participation by the Board in all CIFF activities.
    • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors; serve as ex-officio of each committee; seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for ongoing sustainability and operations.
    Ideal Candidate Profile:
    The Cleveland International Film Festival's Executive Director is an accomplished and transformational leader with experience as a change agent, commitment to and experience fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, and a deep appreciation for the impact of film and/or the arts on our world.
    The successful candidate will have demonstrated an ability to set strategy, inspire and lead a team-oriented staff, bring new and creative approaches to programming and fundraising, and communicate well with an active board, local partners, local communities, and fundraising sources.
    Required experiences:
    • Bachelor's degree, ideally an advanced degree, with at least 10 years of senior management experience, including experience with nonprofit management.
    • Demonstrated experience setting transformational strategy and implementing organizational change.
    • Demonstrated record of accomplishment of effectively leading a performance and outcomes-based organization and staff, preferably within an arts organization.
    • Experience managing quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
    • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget.
    • Prior success working with a Board of Directors, with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships.
    • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
    • Demonstrated experience leading DEIA initiatives.
    Desired personal characteristics:
    • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal, and multidisciplinary project management skills.
    • Ability to work well under pressure and meet strict deadlines while effectively inspiring others.
    • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
    • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed.

    What's in it for you.
    • The opportunity to accelerate the vision of the Cleveland International Film Festival by applying your love of the arts and transformative leadership skills to future-focused initiatives and development programs.
    • The opportunity to love your job and to feel part of an extraordinary and dedicated team as you work together to carry forward the legacy and vibrancy of this historic organization.
    • A competitive compensation package where you'll be rewarded based on your performance and recognized for the value you bring to our organization. Our competitive benefits package includes medical coverage, paid time off, and a 403(b)-retirement plan.
    The Cleveland International Film Festival is an equal opportunity employer. Our employment policies are administered without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, or any other legally protected status except as permitted by law.
    Selection Process
    Dise & Company will review all resumes submitted. Appropriate candidates will be contacted for telephone screening. Please apply to this job posting in complete confidence.
    Susan Paley Zak,
    Executive Vice-President
    216.752.1700 x 105
    Phyllis Webb,
    Senior Recruiter, Organizational Consultant
    216.752.1700 x 101

    Marcie Goodman