Artistic Director for Northwest Film Forum / Employment
June 12, 2023
Organization Name: Northwest Film Forum
Organization Location: Seattle, WA
Artistic Director – Northwest Film Forum
Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences.
About Northwest Film Forum (NWFF)
A nonprofit film and arts center located in Seattle, NWFF presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions each year. A comprehensive visual media organization, NWFF offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. Artist services include access to space, gear, fiscal sponsorship, and an edit lab. Northwest Film Forum is a member-based organization. Our slogan is: MAKE FILMS / MAKE FRIENDS / MAKE CHANGE!
Our vision is a world where all people have the power to express themselves and connect with each other through visual storytelling and culture.
Based in the city currently known as Seattle, we acknowledge that we are located on the ancestral lands and territories of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish Tribe (Dkhw Duw’Absh), who are still present among us and leading much of the important cultural and societal work in the region. NWFF donates 2% of our proceeds to the Duwamish Tribe as an action towards restitution.
In recognition of the role of the arts as a vehicle for social change, we are committed to undoing systems of oppression in our work and lives. We are working everyday to learn and dismantle racist, sexist, and inequitable systems in our lives and organization.
NWFF is seeking a collaborative, visionary leader to join the team in building on NWFF’s current trajectory of being a film center and community hub which centers equity, collective action, and community coalition-building as instrumental to creating and presenting film and media arts. The Artistic Director will champion the organization to leverage collective resources and build capacity for NWFF’s mission and programs. The ideal candidate will deepen community alliances and center equity in all operations.
NWFF’s recent growth has been marked by vibrant programs overseen by a synergistic team, increases in public attendance and visibility, deep grassroots community partnerships, an expansion of artist support systems, and an unwavering commitment to undoing systems of oppression through all of our work. As co-leader of a small but mighty organization, the Artistic Director will work intimately with the Executive Director, Managing Director, and entire NWFF team, to chart a dynamic course for the organization’s ongoing evolution towards a more supportive and equitable film and arts ecosystem within the King County region.
NWFF believes in coalition-building and horizontal models of collaboration and leadership. The candidate for this position will be self-motivated and able to work independently as well as work in close collaboration with a larger team. All NWFF team members wear many hats and are comfortable working in a passionate, shared environment of collaborative decision-making and visioning.
Represent the organization publicly and engage a diverse group of stakeholders in a wide range of settings.
Lead strategic artistic planning, working with NWFF team to set artistic direction, priorities, and goals.
Cultivate and maintain relationships with NWFF’s diverse constituents, including peer organizations, community partners, educational institutions, government agencies, filmmakers, funders, the Board, donors, and members.
Contribute to a safe, equitable, accessible, collaborative, and creative work environment, implementing NWFF’s racial and social equity and accessibility practices, initiatives, and protocols across programs.
Expand NWFF’s reputation as a recognized leader in the local, regional, national, and international film and media arts communities.
Stay informed on local, regional, and national trends to ensure NWFF considers individual, societal, and systemic factors in all decision-making.
Oversee creative development, organization, and production of programs in three main areas: NWFF stage & screen, community partner programs, and related educational programs.
Oversee the master calendar and event schedule across program areas.
In collaboration with Cinema Programmer, artists, organizational partners, guest curators, and cultural producers, manage selection and scheduling processes for year-round film screenings (festivals, series, new releases, repertory), community programs, live performances, public discussions, and visiting artist engagements.
Co-curate ByDesign Festival (March) and Local Sightings Film Festival (September), overseeing submissions, artist and distributor communications, online festival listings, and onsite production of screenings, workshops, filmmaker gatherings, and Q&As.
Coordinate Cadence Video Poetry Festival (April) screenings with festival co-directors and Communications team.
Cultivate relationships with and exhibit the work of local, national and international filmmakers and artists.
Prepare engaging program introductions, and schedule regular public conversations and artist discussions as part of film and event programming.
Commission artists working in various disciplines to create and present new work at NWFF.
Solicit input and ideas for ongoing member program offerings.
Optimize opportunities for collaboration, coordination and integrated programming across departments, in collaboration with Cinema Programmer, Education Director, and Youth Education Manager.
Collaborate with Communications Manager, Cinema Programmer, Patron Services Manager and Assistant, Technical Director through appropriate stages of festival planning, as well as the Education Director and Youth Education Manager for festival-related educational offerings.
Contribute to regional film and media arts communities by maintaining relationships with peer institutions, attending national industry gatherings, and representing NWFF both at internal events and out in the community.
EQUITY & INCLUSION
Develop an organizational culture which promotes transparency, collaboration, as well as racial equity and social justice policies across the organization.
Center anti-oppression values in all aspects of NWFF, ensuring strategies evolve with shifting trends.
Ensure NWFF’s programming includes a wide range of perspectives, stories, and creators, so that diverse audiences and artists can see themselves reflected on-screen and onstage.
Prioritize opportunities for filmmakers, students, and patrons, from historically underserved or under-resourced communities.
Maintain a positive work environment where everyone on the diverse NWFF team feels empowered to share ideas, be creative, and develop their professional skills and interests.
Recognize potential talent in team members, interns, volunteers, and collaborators, elevating growth opportunities where appropriate.
Serve as a chief spokesperson for the organization through press and messaging with regard to programming.
Oversee communications strategy and implementation to increase and deepen public engagement with NWFF’s programs and services, in collaboration with Communications Manager, Social Media Specialist, and Designer.
Support planning and development of production timelines for promotions, including production of print and digital assets, digital communications, grassroots research and outreach, as well as co-presentation and cross-promotion with community partners.
Communicate NWFF policies to community partners hosting programs, including cinema capacities, COVID safety guidelines, print traffic specs and timelines, and front of house procedures.
Facilitate panels, pre- and post-screening discussions, workshops, trainings, roundtables, and other events to bolster film programming, year-round and during festivals.
FINANCE, ADMINISTRATION & DEVELOPMENT
Work closely with the Executive Director and Managing Director to set the annual operating budget and monitor programmatic expenses, especially for core festivals and ongoing series.
Set goals and metrics to track progress and evaluate short- and long-term program impact.
Contribute to development activities, such as grant writing, sponsor research and outreach, program evaluation and impact assessment, testimonials and feedback gathering from constituents, and participation in fundraising campaigns and events, including annual fund and gala.
Support hiring, onboarding, and orientation for full-time, part-time, and contract employees, as well as guest curators, festival assistants, volunteers, and interns.
Maintain contact list of artists, partners, and vendors.
Negotiate terms of community partner programs by preparing estimates, drafting agreements, and overseeing box office splits and artist payments.
Attend Board meetings, reporting programming updates to the Board regularly.
Participate on Board committees to devise and employ strategic planning goals.
Support Board members to become ambassadors and advocates for the organization.
Participate in the annual Staff & Board Retreat.
NWFF business hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, with typical exhibition hours encompassing Wednesday-Friday evenings and Saturday-Sunday matinees and evenings.
NWFF core hybrid (virtual and in-person) festivals:
Children’s Film Festival Seattle (February)
ByDesign Festival (March)
Cadence Video Poetry Festival (April)
Local Sightings Film Festival (September)
Qualities, Qualifications, and Experience
Passion for and dedication to NWFF’s history, mission, vision, values, and programs. Familiarity with and passion for independent film and arts communities.
Proven track record in supervisory experience, e.g. experience managing, developing, and motivating staff and volunteers.
Proven track record of programming for stage and screen (film and/or live performance), demonstrating deep awareness of production practices, industry trends, artist engagement, and audience behaviors.
Passion for crafting substantive artistic experiences for diverse audiences, with a talent for connecting artists with resources and each other.
Ability to see, value, and adapt to cultural differences. Experience working with people of diverse ages, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, cultures, races, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Experience with nonprofit organizations with multiple programs serving diverse constituencies in film, arts, and/or media.
A propensity for thinking in creative, non-traditional channels.
Excellent interpersonal skills, high emotional intelligence and self-awareness, ability to build meaningful relationships with a variety of stakeholders, community-oriented, outgoing, energetic, and perceptive personality.
Demonstrated ability to successfully problem-solve, build consensus, and resolve conflicts.
Commitment to providing NWFF’s resources to community members with limited access to media education and programs.
Lived commitment to and investment in racial and social justice and anti-oppression action.
Excellent verbal and written communication skills, ability to inspire a range of partners and supporters.
Strong organizational and time management skills, experience meeting and managing multiple deadlines, and a high level of self-motivation.
Ability to work flexible hours as necessary.
Ability to prioritize effectively, flexibility, ability to handle multiple projects at once, agility, and adaptiveness.
Knowledge of regional arts and arthouse landscape.
Experience with member-based and member-driven organizations.
Experience contributing to fundraising activities and organizational development.
Experience as a filmmaker or artist.
Experience with human resources, de-escalation, and conflict resolution.
Experience with Google Suite and WordPress.
Employment Information, Compensation, and Benefits
This staff position is full-time, at $65,000 a year, and reports to the Executive Director. Benefits for this position include 100% coverage of health, dental, and vision. Hired candidate will also receive professional development funds, an ORCA pass for transportation, plus access to filmmaking gear, computers, and workshops.
Candidate must be local to Western Washington area or willing to relocate. Due to the public nature of NWFF’s work and our diverse constituency, the hired candidate must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the start of employment. Candidate should be prepared to provide references and must pass a WA State background check.
Please send resume and statement of interest (written, audio, or video) to the Hiring Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line: Artistic Director at NWFF
Audio and video statements are not to exceed 3 minutes in length and can be sent via wetransfer.com to email@example.com.
Applications submitted without a statement of interest (written, video, or audio) will not be considered.
Northwest Film Forum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment policies and programs of Northwest Film Forum are nondiscriminatory in regard to race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation. All potential candidates who identify as Black, Indigenous, person of color, immigrant, living with a disability, low-income, or LGBTQ+ are highly encouraged to apply.
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