FFA Welcomes Four New Board Members

(Pictured above L to R: Patrick Shepherd, Cara Ogburn, Ryan Watt. Missing: Rachel Morgan.)

FFA is thrilled to welcome four new members to its Board of Directors, who represent festivals of different sizes and from varied geographical locations. They join several existing directors who are committed to advancing FFA’s growth, programming and networking opportunities.

Rachel Morgan, Sidewalk Film Festival
Rachel Morgan is the creative director and lead programmer for the Sidewalk Film Festival as well as an instructor of Media Production and Telecommunication and Film at Lawson State Community College. She is also a co-instructor in the Documenting Justice documentary film program at the University of Alabama and is a former contributor to Film Threat. She received a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design in Film/Video Production and a MA in Film Critical Studies from the University of Alabama where her focus of study was on Children and Adolescence in Cinematic Horror.

Cara Ogburn, Ph.D., Programming & Education Director, Milwaukee Film
Cara Ogburn is the Programming & Education Director for Milwaukee Film, which hosts the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, a 15-day film festival that, in 2017, boasted attendance over 84,000 for 297 films (shorts, features and VR shorts) and which will in summer 2018 be assuming operation of the historic Oriental Theatre year-round. Cara began working for the Milwaukee Film Festival seasonally in 2011, curating and planning panels, workshops, and other programming for filmmakers and general audiences to extend the films onscreen. With twelve years of experience teaching at the college level, in 2013, Cara joined Milwaukee Film’s year-round staff, overseeing strategic planning and a resulting expanded slate of programs for youth, filmmakers, and general audiences. In late 2015, Cara was promoted to direct the Programming Department in addition to Education, guiding the process and team that curate all content presented on and off-screen during the festival and year-round.

Patrick Shepherd, Cleveland International Film Festival
Patrick Shepherd serves as the Associate Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival and marks his twentieth year with the organization in 2018. Joining the organization as a seasonal staff member in 1999, Patrick was hired as Development Director in 2001 and promoted to Associate Director in 2006. He has managed the CIFF’s fundraising efforts as our attendance tripled (to 106,504) and our budget increased to just over $3.2 million in the last 17 years.

Ryan Watt, IndieMemphis
Ryan Watt is the Executive Director of Indie Memphis, creating community for independent film and supporting the development of filmmakers. The arts organization is dedicated to year-round programs culminating with the annual Indie Memphis Film Festival in November.  He is a film producer of features with premieres at SXSW, Locarno International, AFI, Los Angeles Film Festival, and Venice Film Festival. Most recently, Ryan is Associate Producer of FREE IN DEED, nominated for four 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Before transitioning into film production, Ryan specialized in marketing technology services at Securas Consulting Group, after they acquired his data backup firm Metro Backup.