Making Movies that Matter, Mountainfilm’s educational initiative, which started three years ago, takes festival films into classrooms where students not only learn about critical contemporary issues but also how to use video editing software.
Both programs, equally critical to Mountainfilm’s mission to educate and inspire audiences, are set to take big steps ahead with the hire this week of two new directors.
For the tour, local entrepreneur Henry Lystad will fill the shoes of Justin Clifton who is departing to take on responsibility as executive director of the 5 Point Film Festival. Tracy Biga MacLean, most recently the head of media studies at the Claremont Colleges in California, will take on the role of scaling the educational initiative to a national level. She will work with Ellen Shelton who created the program and piloted it through its start-up years.
Mountainfilm Executive Director Peter Kenworthy says he is extremely pleased and excited to bring Lystad and MacLean on board. “Both Henry and Tracy are highly experienced and very talented professionals who bring not only expertise but unbridled enthusiasm to the table. Under their leadership these two very important aspects of Mountainfilm will simply excel. There’s just no doubt of that.”
Kenworthy said the paths to the hires were very different:
“We’ve known for quite a while that the educational program has the potential to scale up dramatically, but we also knew we needed just the right person to make it happen. Tracy came to us unexpectedly through a mutual friend who knew that we might make a perfect match. It was extremely serendipitous.
“Henry is someone whom both Mountainfilm and I have known for almost 20 years. When we advertized for Justin’s position, I couldn’t have been more surprised or excited when he put his bid in for the job. We really think we’ve only scratched the surface of the tour’s potential and I can’t think of anyone better qualified or more suited to growing it than Henry.”
Kenworthy says the tour’s current schedule of approximately 70 shows per year and audiences of some 20,000 could easily multiply with the right leadership as there is a proven appetite for Mountainfilm’s programming that crosses an extraordinarily diverse demographic spectrum. He says the educational program also has enormous potential appealing as it does both to educators, who are drawn to its unique combination of cognitive and practical approaches, as well as students who are particularly drawn to the “cool” video medium.
“There’s a lot of momentum right now at Mountainfilm,” Kenworthy says. “These two key hires will definitely help sustain and accelerate our progress.”