Hot Springs film fes­ti­val names in­terim leader

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - LIND­SEY WELLS

HOT SPRINGS — The Hot Springs Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val’s board of di­rec­tors has hired Jen­nifer Ger­ber to serve as the fes­ti­val’s in­terim ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

“We are so grate­ful that Jen is willing to take the lead on the 2017 HSDFF and keep this tran­si­tion as smooth as pos­si­ble,” board Chair­man Don Gooch said in a news re­lease. “Her ex­pe­ri­ence will help us con­tinue to stage the well-re­garded fes­ti­val that our pa­trons have come to ex­pect.”

The pre­vi­ous ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Court­ney Pledger, left ear­lier this year af­ter be­ing se­lected by Gov. Asa Hutchin­son to lead Arkansas Ed­u­ca­tional Tele­vi­sion Net­work. Pledger re­mains a con­sul­tant for the film fes­ti­val. Ger­ber has been a part of the film fes­ti­val’s staff for five years.

Af­ter Pledger’s de­par­ture, Ger­ber said that be­cause of her close in­volve­ment with the fes­ti­val the past sev­eral years, she vol­un­teered her ser­vice to a few of the fes­ti­val’s board mem­bers and let them know she would be avail­able to fill in as tem­po­rary di­rec­tor while they worked to fill the po­si­tion.

“I sort of put the word out, then they ap­proached me,” Ger­ber said.

Ger­ber has as­sumed all of the du­ties that re­late to the film fes­ti­val.

“Right now we’re in an ex­cit­ing time with the pro­gram­ming,” she said. “We have thou­sands of films that have been sub­mit­ted, we have a screen­ing com­mit­tee that has been watch­ing all those films the last few months and se­lect­ing their top fa­vorites, and we also have a team of pro­gram­mers that are also watch­ing and cu­rat­ing and col­lect­ing films from out­side of the sub­mis­sions.”

The group will build its sched­ule and put to­gether the lineup over the next cou­ple of weeks for this year’s fes­ti­val, Ger­ber said.

“That’s our big­gest pri­or­ity right now, just get­ting those amaz­ing films and keep­ing the qual­ity like it’s been the last 25 years,” she said.

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