Beloit film festival names new leadership

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Marty Densch and Ana Kelly gather for a photo. Densch is moving from Beloit International Film Festival Board president to executive director and Kelly is taking his place as president.

BELOIT - The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) has made leadership moves in light of Executive Director Max Maiken's announcement he will be stepping down.

Beloit International Film Festival Board of Directors President Marty Densch will move into the position of executive director and Board Vice President Ana Kelly will take on the board president role.

In early August, BIFF announced Maiken was leaving the executive director position to pursue a MBA degree. The only other full-time position at BIFF is that of Greg Gerard, who worked as assistant director.

After Gerard was promoted to the position of artistic director, BIFF officials considered creating a development director or business manager position to replace the executive director.

On reflection, however, the board decided to keep the executive director position and promoted Densch to fill that position.

Densch said the duties are a natural outgrowth of his experience as president. Densch noted he's worked with BIFF for six years.

"I'm very much looking forward to working closely with Greg Gerard to make BIFF the best small-town film festival in the country," Densch said.

Densch said the promotion allows the organization to take a pause and reassess its plans and offerings. It would be a bad time to do a job search and get someone new on board so close to the mid-winter festival.

Beloit International Film Festival already has more than 350 movie submissions it is assessing. The BIFF Year Round program starts in a few weeks and the Real Deal fundraiser with the Beloit Public Library will be held in October. Beloit International Film Festival also is in discussions to expand educational programming.

Kelly said she's excited to be president of the organization. She's worked with Densch on a variety of boards in the community.

"We can work together and make something good happen," Kelly said.

Densch said Kelly has been an asset to BIFF by bringing her talents organizing the event with online resources. She schedules volunteers, maintains contacts with sponsors, keeps ticket information and manages other festival details.

Kelly and her husband Rick McGrath have also been doing the BIFF website for years through their company Resonate Web Marketing.

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