Hot Springs film festival names interim leader
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.