A former newspaperman and publicist who turned a struggling film festival around will take over as executive director of the Denver Film Society in March.
Andrew Rodgers, who since 2005 has led the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., will relocate to Denver with his wife Iana Dontcheva, a filmmaker and professor, and their two daughters, according to the Denver Film Society.
"The good news is the Denver Film Society is already doing a lot of things really well," Rodgers, 40, said over the phone this week from North Carolina. "My job won't be to come in and start doing things completely differently, but to look for the ways in which we can grow and expand."
The six-month search for a new executive director, which was spearheaded by Arts Consulting Group, attracted more than 100 applicants from 22 U.S. states and Canada.
"The board was unanimous in approving (Rodgers') appointment and we are excited to get him started here in Denver as soon as possible," said Bob Clasen, chair of the search committee and chair-elect of the Society's board of directors, in a press release. "Andrew was far and above the most outstanding candidate."
When he takes over in March, Rodgers will head the nonprofit Film Society's year-round programming at the Sie FilmCenter, its home on East Colfax Avenue, as well its biggest annual party, the Denver Film Festival — which wrapped up its 38th installment in November.
Rodgers graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and worked for the Chicago Tribune before becoming a publicist for the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City and the Chicago International Film Festival.
Most recently he has led North Carolina's RiverRun Film Festival, which boasts 200 percent higher revenues than before his arrival.
"I've known Andrew for a number of years and have followed his successful development as a respected industry leader and festival presenter," said Britta Erickson, festival director for the Denver Film Society. "His knowledge of film, his business acumen and his ability to attract support for film organizations will help us expand our reach even further."
Rodgers is also a documentarian with two short films under his belt: "Crooked Candy" (2014) and "Dark Station," which will debut this year. He first visited Denver for a screening of "Crooked Candy" during the 2014 Denver Film Festival and previously served as a juror during 2008's event.
"The Denver Film Society has a sterling reputation and is considered one of the leading regional-film organizations in the country," Rodgers said. "One of the biggest challenges will just be competing for attention with all the other things going on in your growing city."