September 19, 2008

Denver Film Society Announces New Executive Director

Following a six-month national search, the Denver Film Society (DFS) has named Burleigh "Bo" Smith as its executive director. The 30-year arts and film industry veteran will officially take the reigns on Oct. 14, 2008.

Smith, 59, has served the last 21 years as the Head of Film/Video and Concerts for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where he was responsible for the programming, promoting, presenting, and funding of 750 film programs and 50 concerts annually. Working in partnership with diverse community groups, Smith's career highlights include the creation of annual film festivals, including French, Jewish, Iranian, Gay/Lesbian, Turkish, Human Rights, and African. Smith was part of a team that drew plans for a new film, concert and lecture theatre for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston which is scheduled to open in 2010. In addition, he has more than a decade of teaching experience including current roles at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I., and at Boston College.

Prior to his work in Boston, Smith spent six years in St. Paul, Minn. as Director of Film/Video/Performance Exhibitions for Film in the Cities where he produced an array of film, video, music, and performance programs, many supported with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ron Henderson, a DFS founder, original SDFF artistic director and a recognized figure in the international film community, said of the appointment, "I've known Bo for 20 years, and I couldn't be happier with his selection as our new executive director. He is the ideal person to lead us into an exciting new future where the landscape for film exhibition and education is undergoing tremendous change."

After 30 years of distinguished service, Henderson stepped down from his day-to-day role in November 2007. He remains a senior program consultant and served on the search committee co-chaired by DFS Trustee, Marcie Moore-Gantz and David Dynak, Ph.D., Dean of the University of Colorado at Denver's (UCD) College of Arts & Media.

"I'm excited to be joining a team of visionary film industry professionals, as well as a board of trustees that is passionate about the arts and its impact on the civic and educational communities," said Bo Smith. "Well established as a premier film organization and cultural institution in the Rocky Mountain region, the Denver Film Society is positioned to enhance film programming, education and collaboration among and with the diverse communities we serve."

The Denver Film Society, established in 1978, the same year Smith launched his professional career, will look to him to further solidify its position as a premier Denver cultural organization and the area's leader in film education and arts community partnerships. DFS's year-round film exhibition, education and outreach elevate the organization's national reputation and help to draw approximately 250,000 attendees annually.

"Bo is a perfect fit for our organization as we focus on expanding our programs, increasing our community connections, building new partnerships and strengthening our presence as a year-round resource," said Nina Henderson Moore, chair of the Denver Film Society's Board of Directors. "He brings a wealth of knowledge, administrative experience and a history of outstanding community-based, relationship-building within the arts industry and film world to us - an exceptional match with our organization and its growing needs and opportunities."

DFS has grown to include annual festivals and events such as Film on the Rocks, a cinema/concert series held throughout the summer at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; Old School/New School, a program in which students and their parents curate, watch and discuss their favorite films; and DocNight, a monthly program showcasing critically acclaimed documentary films and filmmakers.

In addition, DFS provides diverse and innovative educational programming including programs with the region's largest K-12 school districts, UCD's College of Arts & Media, as well as summer camps, a Young Filmmakers Workshop and Animation Station, an exciting workshop on how to create animated film.

Built on the foundation of its internationally recognized Starz Denver Film Festival, now in its 31st year, DFS also opened the Starz FilmCenter in 2002, an eight-screen, independent arthouse cinema on the downtown Denver Auraria campus, where it presents more than 600 first-run exclusives and arthouse revivals both domestic and foreign, narrative and documentary each year, as well as numerous special series and symposia.

The Starz Denver Film Festival in 2007 showcased more than 175 films from 36 countries on 12 screens with an audience exceeding 45,000.

About DFS

The Denver Film Society is a membership-based nonprofit cultural institution dedicated to cultivating community and transforming lives through film. Founded in 1978, the Denver Film Society produces film events throughout the year, including the award-winning Starz Denver Film Festival. The Denver Film Society's home theatre and cinematic education center, the Starz FilmCenter, presents film programs daily and is Denver's first and only year-round cinematheque, operated in partnership with the University of Colorado at Denver's College of Arts & Media, and with support from Starz Entertainment and the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Denver Film Society members support one-of-a-kind programs reaching more that 200,000 film lovers and film lovers-in-training each year.

Bo Smith photo available upon request.