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Click here to read a statement from AIFF staff and board
 
Erica Thompson
Richard HerskowitzStephen Sloan
Pictured above, left to right:  Erica Thompson, Executive Director; Richard Herskowitz, Artistic Director, and Stephen Sloan, AIFF Board President

AIFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT:
 
THE OPPORTUNITY
The Southern Oregon Film Society, which produces the springtime Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF), is celebrating its 20th year as the premier provider of independent film and visual arts in southern Oregon and beyond. Our mission is to celebrate the diversity of human experience through independent film by enriching, educating, and inspiring all audiences.
 
AIFF’s reputation is acclaimed by the kudos the festival receives, including recognition among the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” (2013 and 2016), “Best Online Film Festivals” (2020), and “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” (5Xs) by MovieMaker magazine. The town of Ashland consistently earns MovieMaker magazine’s “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” (2014-2021). Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Motion Picture Academy attest to our national reputation for excellence. The spring and fall (Varsity World Film Week) film festivals attract visitors and locals to Ashland’s downtown, bringing business to hotels, restaurants, wineries, and other commercial establishments. Once we can meet in person again, our new AIFF Film Center on Main Street will be a year-round attraction where monthly film and media art screenings, exhibitions, and classes will be held.
 
Having quickly and successfully launched the 2020 April film festival virtually, AIFF is now in a position to reach wider audiences than ever before. We are evolving from a springtime regional cultural arts event into a year-round hybrid (streaming + live) arts center that will expose a much larger audience to AIFF’s exhibition and education programs. Our monthly, online “Best of the Fests” series offers opportunities for collaborations with community organizations. The expansion of our online channel from a spring festival platform into a year-round exhibition venue, along with our plans to launch monthly classic and contemporary film screenings and classes, film production workshops, and media art exhibitions in the new AIFF Film Center, will expand our reach deeper into our community and further across our nation.
 
Highlights from the April 2019 in-person festival include: 20,000-plus tickets sold to132 documentary, narrative, short, animated, and student films presented in 165 screenings at eight venues. Educational programs included our LAUNCH student film competition, the Teen Press journalism program, Festival in the Schools, and School Group Tickets initiatives.
 
AIFF champions independent films that take viewers on a cultural voyage beyond their horizons and inside the perspectives of people who are frequently stereotyped or ignored. In a time of polarization, cinema serves as an “empathy machine,” in Roger Ebert’s words, and breaks down prejudices. AIFF’s programming emphasizes artists of diverse backgrounds. For the past few years, 50 percent or more of AIFF’s selections have been directed by women. In 2020, our four special honorees included three Asian-American and African-American filmmakers and distributors and an LGBTQ filmmaker. We are building Latinx audiences through our Guanajuato, Mexico partnership; Spanish-language films for students; and Teen Press.
 
AIFF fosters interactivity by accompanying films with introductions, Q&A sessions, and discussion panels, often with the films’ subjects and makers. AIFF viewers continue the conversation in movie lines, in the streets, and on social media. We annually partner with ScienceWorks Museum for a Family Day. We present live music and film events in the SOU Music Recital Hall and other music venues. We curate a media art exhibition at the Schneider Museum of Art, and we involve the actors and directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in our discussions and events.
 
AIFF, like other advanced film festivals, is increasingly an educational institution. We teach media literacy and other academic skills through our growing AIFF Learn educational programs, such as Launch, Teen Press, Festival in the Schools, and Student Matinees. Our partnerships with the new Digital Cinema program at Southern Oregon University and with local schools give young filmmakers opportunities to learn film production, while those with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) enrich the film appreciation of adult learners.
 
Our goals for the future are to continue engaging and inspiring audiences while building an inclusive and diverse community of filmmakers, supporters, partners, and viewers. We plan to bring the best film festivals ever—hybrid festivals that will bring back those live, in-person connections you cherish as well as the innovative remote viewing opportunities that are exciting a new audience.
 

THE POSITION
The Executive Director has responsibility for the entire organization. The ED exercises managerial acumen to lead staff in achieving organizational goals, relies on experience and maturity to work closely with the Board of Directors and has an interest in and ability to connect with the broader AIFF community.
 
The ED will develop and guide staff: match personnel and skills to functional needs, help individuals succeed and prosper, align all efforts to common goals, and create a culture of stability and optimism.
 
The ED, along with the Artistic Director, reports to the Board of Directors. The ED works closely with the Board in adherence to and development of AIFF’s strategic vision and goals.
 
The ED engages, in ways both professional and social, with the broader AIFF community, many of whom have numerous years of connection with the festival – as volunteers, donors, sponsors, and members. The ED maintains positive relationships with a great variety of people across a wide spectrum of opinions and personalities.
 
The ED position demands a flexible, adaptable, organized, multi-tasking nature – at ease under pressure.
 
The ED, at the highest level, must hold the health of the entire film festival: to value the relationships and to engage every group with the opportunity to contribute, to learn, and to celebrate by association with the festival.  
 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES
 Lead in the development and implementation of the organization’s vision and strategic plan. Ensure that all programs and services support and realize the organization’s work, mission, and values.
Inspire a creative, energized, collaborative, and safe organizational culture and environment for staff, the Board of Directors, volunteers, members, and the greater AIFF community.
Act in concert with the Artistic Director as a primary spokesperson and representative for the organization.
Direct all development including securing grants, sponsorships, donations, memberships, in-kind support, and earned income to meet budgeted goals.
Direct the organization’s financial operations, prepare a comprehensive budget for approval by the Board of
Directors, and provide the Board of Directors with accurate, comprehensive, and regular reports on the revenues and expenditures of the organization, ensuring compliance with fiscally responsible accounting and reporting procedures.
Manage operational and human resources processes, protocols, logistics, and planning including the hiring, supervision, training, and evaluation of year-round and seasonal staff, as well as contract service providers, in coordination with the Artistic Director.
 Oversee promotion of the organization’s events through a comprehensive marketing and
media plan, ensuring regular communication and collaborative relationships with community leaders, organizations,
and key stakeholders.
Engage with the greater film festival industry to stay current on trends and issues; cultivate relationships with individuals, representatives, and groups in the industry; attend regional and national conferences and film festivals.
Work to continue to develop and engage diverse audiences, expand income sources, and build national recognition for AIFF in coordination with the Artistic Director.
 

THE QUALIFICATIONS
• Demonstrated experience at a senior leadership level in an arts organization of comparably high quality, size, and reputation.
• The ability to translate broad vision and plans into specific objectives oriented towards results.
• A participative management style that emphasizes collaboration and effective
teamwork with diverse constituents. Prior experience leading and developing a Board of Directors is preferred.
• A record of leading successful development programs and demonstrated financial savvy, including familiarity with nonprofit budgeting and financial reports.
• Experience and knowledge of the independent film industry, including new and emerging technologies, and trends around distribution, engagement, and outreach.
• Experience as an accomplished convener with strong interpersonal skills, persuasive presentation, and public
speaking skills.
 

CANDIDATE CHARACTERISTICS
• A dynamic leader with demonstrated leadership skills who manages with a high commitment to integrity, excellence, accountability, and transparency.
• A decisive but collaborative leader able to engage diverse constituents; make decisions with empathy, respect, and diplomacy; and who possesses the ability to motivate, develop, and manage a cohesive team.
• A spirit of inquisitiveness and flexibility with the capacity to learn, self-evaluate, and adapt with the
emotional maturity and confidence required to be successful.
• Demonstrate an interest in participating in the community of the organization at all levels.
• Have a passion for film and the mission, vision, and values of the organization, including an
appreciation for Southern Oregon’s vibrant filmmaking, live theater, music, museums, and the university community.
 

CANDIDATE RESOURCES
 
ashlandfilm.org
 
AIFF ANNUAL 2019-2020 REPORT
 
Film Festival Films & Awards Archive
 
Employment Status: Full time, Exempt; Office is located in Ashland, Oregon
 
Salary Range: $60,000-$72,000 DOE
 
Benefits: Eight paid federal holidays; Accrued PTO; Health Care Reimbursement Program
 

TO APPLY
The priority deadline to apply March 31, 2021. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume,
and three professional references in one PDF to recruitment@ashlandfilm.org. For the subject line please format it as Last Name, First, ED Applicant. The cover letter and resume should contain detailed information about work experience, past successes, leadership experience, and qualifications. Please do not contact AIFF’s offices; calls will not be accepted.
 
The Southern Oregon Film Society (dba Ashland Independent Film Festival) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Oregon and is an equal opportunity employer. We proudly value diversity, equity, and inclusion in our external work and internal practices. The Search Committee seeks to develop a diverse candidate pool and welcomes nominations and applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or national origin.


Click here to see the full job description
 
 

 

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Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) values diversity and inclusion and encourages applicants of all backgrounds to apply. AIFF is committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, family and marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. AIFF is committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status. 

 

Mission: Celebrate the diversity of human experience through the art of independent film by enriching, educating, and inspiring all audiences.

 

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