Lela was named Executive Director of the Film Festival Alliance in June, 2018 after serving as Acting Executive Director since April 2017. She comes to FFA with over 15 years of experience in the film festival industry. A founder of the Tallgrass Film Festival, she filled several roles within that organization between 2003-2017, including six years as the popular festival’s Executive Director. She’s also served in consulting roles for the Woods Hole Film Festival, and most recently for Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, and has attended dozens of film festivals, nationally and internationally in various roles and capacities, as well. As a woman of color, living in a red state, Lela brings much experience for arts advocacy and collaboration in the face of adversity, and a deep understanding of the cultural significance that cinematic arts organization can mean to a community.
Originally founded in 2010 as a program of IFP, Film Festival Alliance (FFA) was established in 2015 as an independent non-profit networking organization that develops and fosters collaboration among mission-driven film festivals across North America. FFA offers resources to strengthen the film festival industry, and advocates for a sustainable and inclusive environment for film festivals and the people who run them.
With a current membership of more than 150 organizations and individuals – representing a diverse array of size, geographic location and annual budget – FFA presents year-round professional development, and engagement opportunities around the country, offers valuable money-saving benefits and creates a collective community for festival professionals.
FFA works year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community.