The Board of Directors is very happy (and a bit sad), to announce the following changes within the organization.
We are thrilled to welcome Development Director Valentina Acevedo Montilla into the role of Managing Director. Valentina first became involved with VLAFF as a volunteer in 2015, was then part of the Youth Jury in 2017, and has been part of the core staff for the last year and a half.
Valentina says of her new role: “The festival has been going through a challenging and rewarding succession and transformation process. I am excited to continue dreaming and reimagining the organization we are and want to be in the next 20 years; to hold even more spaces for different voices and ways of seeing to be amplified; and to honour our commitment to showcase the work of Latine creators from Latin America and its diasporas, while also continuing to support collaborations with the many diverse communities of this city, especially the Coast Salish Nations on whose unceded territories our festival takes place.”
As part of VLAFF’s shift to a more horizontal model of leadership, we would also like to announce that Christian Sida Valenzuela, VLAFF’s Executive & Artistic Director, is stepping down from his role as Executive Director. He will stay on as Programming Director for 2022. We are very pleased that Christian has fully embraced this change in his role and showed willingness to work within a new model. We greatly appreciate all that Christian has achieved in his 11 years as Executive Director and 17 years of involvement with the festival in every role imaginable.
Christian says of this change: “The time comes when every organization needs to move forward with new ideas, new people. I am sure we will find a great person who shares the same passion as us for promoting Latin American cinema in Vancouver. This festival has tremendously changed my life. I have been working on the day-to-day operations for 17 years and 11 years ago I became Festival Director. It has been amazing, and I am happy new people will take it on. I hope it changes the life of other people, too.”
Last, and by far not least, we regret to say that Senior Programmer & General Manager Anne-Mary Mullen has decided to step down from her position. She will continue to work as a Festival Consultant over the next few months of transition. We enthusiastically thank Anne-Mary for her 7 years as Senior Programmer & General Manager and her 14 years as Box Office Manager and grant writer extraordinaire. We think it’s safe to say that her contributions have been immeasurable, and we don’t quite know how we are going to put on a festival without her.
Anne-Mary has assured us: “I’ll continue to be there to support this very special festival that we all care so deeply about and all of its amazing filmmakers, audience members, donors, staff and volunteers… and at VLAFF 2022, I hope to be found relaxing and watching films in the cinema (for a change) or hovering near the wine table with my dog, Zarco.” ¡Muchísimas gracias! Anne-Mary Mullen.
Board note: This internal restructuring has arisen from both personal and professional reflection and dialogue we have gone through for the past couple of years, and is part of a larger movement within the VLAFF organization to embrace a renewed beginning of our next decade. Please join us for 20 more exciting years!!