Aspen Film Announces Maggie Mackay As Artistic Director

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Aspen Film, one of Colorado's premier non-profit film organizations and presenter of Aspen Filmfest, Aspen Shortsfest and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Screenings, announced today the appointment of Maggie Mackay as ArtisticDirector.

Mackay brings 15 years of industry experience to the organization, most recently having served as Director of Nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Senior Programmer of the Los Angeles Film Festival under the umbrella of Film Independent, which she first joined in 2003. Her role with Aspen Film will officially beginonAugust 17.

"We are lucky to have such a wonderful asset to the arts communityand know that Maggie will take Aspen Film to new and dynamic heights," said Aspen Film Board President Lee Rittvo.

Co-Directors George Eldred and Laura Thielen announced their departure in January, having been with Aspen Film for 20 years. John Thew was named Executive Director, a role in which he assumedJuly 1with Eldred and Thielen continuing on in their artistic capacity through August with the programming of the 36th Aspen Filmfest (September 25-30, 2015)- the last festival bearing their creative imprint.

"Maggie's experience in the world of independent film is truly impressive and we are thrilled by the board's process and her decision to join the Aspen Film team," said Thew."We couldn't have asked for a more perfect candidate to carry on the legacy that Laura Thielen and George Eldred have built."

The Aspen Film board of directors embarked on a national search to complement Thew's role as executive director and is honored to bring someone with the utmost industry esteem and knowledge to the organization. Reporting directly to Thew, Mackay will assume responsibility for Aspen Film's overall artistic direction of film festivals, special screenings and events.

Mackay's interest in film developed as a small child in her hometown of New York City, seeing multiple movies a week with her mother at Film Forum. As an adolescent, Mackay went on to discover SoHo's sadly now defunct Rare Bird Video. She spent countless hours in the store's deeply inspirational basement, which housed thousands of obscure titles and a remarkably patient staff that never kicked her out.

Mackay holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Film Studies from the University of Delaware and a Master's degree in Literature and Film Studies from Claremont Graduate University. Mackay has previously served as Senior Coordinator of the Sundance Documentary Fund, and a programmer and consultant for numerous film festivals, including AFI Fest and the Sarasota Film Festival. 

"I've gotten to know Laura as a friend and colleague through her work at Aspen Film and over the years as a valued member of the annual Spirit Awards annual nominating committees. Laura and George have secured Aspen Film's stellar reputation with both audiences and filmmakers and I am excited and humbled to build on this with John,"said Mackay."Along with looking forward to this incredible professional opportunity, I can't wait to explore this beautiful region andintroduce my children to its endless natural wonders as they grow up."

Mackay will continue to reside in Los Angeles with frequent trips to Aspen throughout the year and attendance at all film festivals and special events. The organization will officially introduce her to the community at the 36th Aspen Filmfest (September 25-30, 2015).

Established in 1979, Aspen Film is one of Colorado's most active film arts organizations, presenting dynamic programs and featured guest artists throughout the year. Internationally recognized, Aspen Film organizes a major film event in every season, along with an extensive education program:Aspen Filmfest, Academy Screenings, Aspen Shortsfestand Film Educates. With a mission to enlighten, enrich, educate and entertain through film, Aspen Film stimulates thought, encourages dialogue and broadens understanding of our world and selves through the diverse spectrum of ideas presented by filmmakers worldwide. To learn more, visit www.aspenfilm.organd socially on FacebookTwitterand Instagram

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