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New Executive Director Brings Expansion To Gig Harbor Film Festival

jenny wellman

​MEDIA RELEASE
June 20, 2015
Media Contact: Jenny Wellman director@gigharborfilmfestival.org, 253-851-3456

​NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BRINGS EXPANSION TO GIG HARBOR FILM FESTIVAL

Gig Harbor, WA — As Gig Harbor Film Festival (GHFF) gears up for an exciting ninth annual festival, the organization announced that Jenny Wellman has taken the helm as Executive Director. The 2016 festival is scheduled for October 20-23 and will feature another stellar line-up of independent films.

Board President Pat Nagle shared the news. "Marty Thacker co-founded the Gig Harbor Film Festival. Her vision and skills built this event, bringing local, national and even international independent filmmakers to Gig Harbor. In just eight years it has become one of the most notable film festivals in the country. With that success under her belt, and with the community's gratitude, Marty retired last November." Nagle added, "Jenny Wellman has been on the team for the past two years working with Marty to push the festival to the next level, expanding beyond a single weekend of events into an array of year-round fun. She has been instrumental in forging broader community partnerships. We are pleased that Jenny has accepted the Executive Director role and look forward to all that her leadership will bring."

The mission of the Gig Harbor Film Festival is "to educate, entertain, inspire and enrich the cultural vitality of our community through the art of cinema." Wellman and the board are expanding GHFF's offerings, including events throughout the year, and further connecting the festival within the community.

Wellman has hit the ground running. In May, she partnered with Peninsula School District’s community outreach director Kathy Weymiller to bring the film Screenagers to Uptown's Galaxy Theater. Galaxy offered two auditoriums at no cost for parents or students, showing this multi-award-winning film about growing up in the digital age and the impacts on youth.

Next up will be a free "Fly In/Drive In Movie Night" on August 27, a vintage airplane and car show with a movie, held in partnership with Friends of Tacoma Narrows (FoTNA) and LeMay - America's Car Museum (ACM). GHFF will screen an outdoor film on the side of an airplane hangar; FoTNA will open hangars to show restored 1920s-1940s aircraft, and ACM will add cars from the same time period. Movie-goers will be also able to purchase grilled sliders, hot dogs, popcorn and other tasty treats and beverages.

Beginning in September, GHFF is expanding their partnership with Galaxy Theater and will offer a movie night once a month through April.

Wellman hopes to hold the annual film festival Opening Night Gala and the Sunday Awards Ceremony in partnership with downtown organizations, spreading some of the Uptown festival atmosphere to the waterfront. The72 Hour Film Competition will continue each spring. And during the summer of 2017, GHFF plans to launch filmmakers camps geared toward middle schoolers.

"Working in accounting and operations with GHFF over the past two years, I've been inspired by Marty, the board, and all of the incredible volunteers. We knew there was more to be done, and it is my goal to achieve all that we've outlined in our plan," said Wellman. "I really had an epiphany in April. This was the first year for the 72 Hour Film Competition as a stand-alone event, and participation was outstanding. Seeing the teams with their families and friends who came to support them was truly an impactful moment. It clearly meant so much to them to make these film projects and share their work on the big screen. I knew then that I was fully committed to the future of GHFF and all that it brings to our community."

Wellman has worked as a corporate tax analyst and in accounting roles for LCI International, Westin Hotels Corporation, and VONS Corporation. She moved to Gig Harbor from Ohio six years ago, and established an accounting practice. In addition, she has a long history of volunteer leadership and board roles within nonprofit organizations, including facilitating campaigns through Kinder Key to raise funds for the heart catheter lab at Columbus Children's Hospital (one of the premier pediatric cardiac care centers in the nation), and fundraising for visual and performing arts with The 500 Inc. in Dallas. She has also volunteered many hours with Peninsula School District with the Meister Singers boosters and parent teacher associations.

Wellman's support for GHFF is infectious; she added, "We are seeking several additional board members and volunteers for the festival. If you'd like to be part of this tremendous group, please stop by, give me a call, or fill out the volunteer form on our website."

For further details, visit http://www.gigharborfilmfestival.org or call 253-851-FILM (3456)

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Image Credit: Jenny Wellman, Executive Director, Gig Harbor Film Festival. Courtesy of Gig Harbor Film Festival.