Nominations for the Film Festival Alliance Board, beginning January 2017
Film Festival Alliance members will receive an email with a ballot ID and KEY which is necessary to vote for no more than 9 members using an online ballot. Voting will be held between January 10 – 18 through the link https://vote.electionrunner.com/election/dXFuo
Denver Film Society
Andrew Rodgers became the Executive Director of the Denver Film Society in 2016. The organization owns and operates the Sie FilmCenter, which shows art house films year-round, and runs the Denver Film Festival, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017. Previously, Andrew served for 11 years as the Executive and Artistic Director of the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Prior to that, he worked as a publicist for the Sundance Film Festival and as the Publicity Director of the Chicago International Film Festival. He started he career as a journalist with the Chicago Tribune. He received his undergraduate degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA from Wake Forest University. In his spare time, Andrew directs documentary films and chases after his two young daughters.
Barak Epstein began in the film industry via independent film production and Film/TV technology sales and consulting. As a film producer, Barak has completed five feature films, which have played at film festivals throughout the world and have international distribution. Barak founded Aviation Cinemas in 2010 as a movie exhibition firm that has revitalized the historic Texas Theatre in Dallas as a movie theatre and gathering space for the filmmaking and movie buff community in North Texas. The Texas Theatre has since been called “One of America’s Great Movie Houses” by Filmmaker Magazine. In 2012 Barak co- founded the Oak Cliff Film Festival which has been included multiple times in the ‘Top Film Festivals Worth The Entry fee” by MovieMaker Magazine.
Beth Barrett is the Interim Artistic Director of SIFF (organizers of the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education) and has been working with SIFF programming since 2003. An aficionado of short films, she secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008. Responsible for all aspects of SIFF programming, Beth has been in Seattle for 23 years and holds an MA in Northern Renaissance Art History.
Cara Ogburn is the Programming & Education Director for Milwaukee Film, an annual, 15-day film festival that in 2016 boasted attendance over 76,000 for 282 films (shorts and features). While completing her Ph.D. in English-Modern Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 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 a 2014 Education Department strategic planning process 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 content presented on and off-screen during the festival and year-round.
Carl Spence began curating films and concerts during the grunge era in Seattle. He began his festival career at the Seattle International Film Festival in 1994, helping grow the Festival to become one of the largest film events in North America over the past two decades. He also led SIFF’s expansion into year-round exhibition, making SIFF the leading independent arthouse exhibitor in Seattle by saving two historic cinemas along with the creation of a new flagship Film Center. He most recently held the position of Festival Director and Chief Curator at SIFF prior to starting his own consulting film, CCS Arts in late 2016. He also held Director of Programming positions with the Palm Springs International Film Festival and with the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2014, he helped create the Orcas Island Film Festival as a Festival co-director and the chief curator..
An Atlanta native, Charles is a veteran film festival organizer and programmer with over a decade of experience. Currently he’s the programming and communications director for TERMINUS Conference + Festival, a film and gaming event for emerging creators. Previously, he was Artistic Director for the Atlanta Film Festival, where he was on staff for over seven years. In 2014, he created and launched Film Bar Mondays, a weekly event for filmmakers in Atlanta, now with sister events in Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. As a mostly lapsed film critic and journalist, he also co-manages CinemATL, an online site covering film in Atlanta since 2005.
New Orleans Film Society
Clint Bowie is the Director of Programming for the New Orleans Film Society, where he has worked since 2010. In this role, he oversees the curation of content for all of the organization’s year-round programming, including the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival (now in its 28th year) and the New Orleans French Film Festival. He has served on juries and panels at film festivals around the country–including Cleveland, Florida, Dallas, Denver, Palm Springs, and others–and has attended dozens of other festivals both large and small. Clint would bring to the board an interest in making festivals more transparent and an eagerness to facilitate cross-festival collaboration.
Dan Brawley is the Executive Director of Cucalorus, an international celebration of filmmaking in Wilmington, North Carolina founded in 1994 by Twinkle Doon. Cucalorus screens more than 250 films with a range of multi-disciplinary programs focusing on dance, social justice, cocktails, and performance that blend together political integrity and goofy sincerity. MovieMaker Magazine has recognized Cucalorus for three years in a row as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” From their headquarters at Jengo’s Playhouse, Cucalorus operates a growing residency program supporting emerging artists. The festival’s campus hosted more than 272 humans last year ranging from filmmakers and dancers to a roller derby team and 15 comedians.
Jon Gann is the Director of Programming for the Film Festival Alliance, the first non-profit organization formed to professionalize festival organizers. He is also the shorts programmer for the SF Indie Fest and the Port Townsend Film Festivals. Jon is the Founder of DC Shorts, a non-profit organization championing short filmmaking, and the creator of the DC Shorts Film Festival, one of the country’s premier short film showcases. He has also served as the Executive Director of CINE, a 59-year old organization that honors the best in film, TV and digital media with the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award. Through his Reel Plan consulting firm, Jon has bridged the communication gap between competing film festivals, so all can share film information, sponsor strategies and filmmaker data. He also works with dozens of filmmakers on festival strategies and niche marketing.
Portland-based producer Josh Leake is the founder and executive director of the Portland Film Festival, which MovieMaker Magazine named one of the world’s “coolest” film festivals. He produced “Glena,” a feature length documentary that now available on Showtime and VOD. His film “Emptys,” won first place at Tropfest New York. With his production company, Mindpollen, he’s currently developing an adaption of Chuck Palahniuk’s “Lullaby.”
Woods Hole FF
Judith Laster is the Founder and Director of the 26 year-old Woods Hole Film Festival, the oldest film festival on Cape Cod and the Islands and one of the oldest in Massachusetts. The Festival is an eight day festival of independent film that takes place each summer. Over the eight days, the festival screens approximately 130 films selected from submissions from around the world. The festival is dedicated to presenting the work of emerging independent filmmakers. In addition, the Festival presents 2 year round films series and collaborates with other arts organizations both on and off Cape Cod to program films for their venues. She participated in the founding of the Film Festival Alliance and is an attorney with more than two decades of experience working in the Massachusetts legislature.
Lela Meadow-Conner is a founder of the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, KS and since 2003 has served as festival producer, and most recently as the festival’s parent 501c(3) Executive Director, wherein she oversaw development, fundraising, board management, staff, marketing & communications, social media, publicity and vacuuming the office floor. In 2017, she will transition into a creative director position, maximizing her passion for the organization’s brand and her strengths as an organizer and collaborator. As a woman of color, living in a deep red state, Lela brings much experience for arts advocacy in the face of adversity, and a deep understanding of the cultural importance that a cinematic arts organization can bring to a community.
Mill Valley FF
Mark Fishkin is the Executive Director and Founder of the California Film Institute and the Founder and Director of the Mill Valley Film Festival. Since founding the Mill Valley Film Festival in 1977, Mr. Fishkin has shepherded the once small, three-day showcase into an 11-day, internationally acclaimed event featuring a wide variety of US and international independent films, Children’s FilmFest, shorts, seminars and tributes to exceptional filmmakers. Under his direction, the Mill Valley Film Festival has garnered a reputation as a favorite among filmmakers and one of the most influential non-competitive festivals in North America. Mr. Fishkin spearheaded the $8.5 million capital campaign to restore the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, which opened in 1999, creating new models for filmmakers for exhibition. Under Mark’s leadership over the last fifteen years the Smith Rafael Film Center has become one of the most highly regarded and successful not for profit art house theaters in the country.
Mary Dossinger is the Program Manager for the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC and is about to take part in her 10th Festival. Prior to joining the team at RiverRun, Mary received her Masters in Fine Arts from The University of London – King’s College London in 2007. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and minor in film studies at Emory University. She has had a varied career, starting at CNN and Turner Broadcasting and then moving on to Capitol Hill where she worked as an Executive Assistant at an international lobbying firm. She has moved all over the world. She was born in Guildford, England and lived in Athens, Greece; Houston, TX; Anchorage, AK; Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.
Film Festival Group
Mitch Levine is the founder of The Film Festival Group, a consulting firm for filmmakers, film festivals and the independent film world, specializing in startup strategies, strategic planning, festival production, programming, sponsorship, marketing, industry relations, executive recruiting, administration and operations, technical production and special events. He served as Executive Director of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals, co-created and produced First Time Fest in New York, produced the Bahamas International Film Festival, the International Emerging Talent Film Festival in Monaco and served for many years as the Production Director of the AFI and LA Film Festivals.