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IMAGE Hires New Executive Director

Atlanta (August 8, 2006) – IMAGE Film & Video Center has appointed Gabriel Wardell as the new executive director effective September 1, 2006. Wardell replaces Jon Aaron, former Board Chair who acted as executive director for a year before and during the job search. Aaron will assist in the transition.

“The world of non-profits has changed radically in recent years,” said Wardell. “Non-profits need to evolve, develop dynamic initiatives, and provide vision if they intend to remain relevant in the 21st Century.”

Citing the demise of AIVF as just one example of this new paradigm, he said, “It’s not enough just to keep up with the times. IMAGE, and like organizations, must provide leadership and direction for the independent media arts community, while the ground rules are still open for interpretation.”

Wardell has worked for festivals and non-profits for over a decade, programming the AFI Silver Theatre, in Silver Spring, Maryland as well as producing the inaugural edition of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. He hosted and programmed Cinema Sundays at the Charles in Baltimore for seven years, and programmed for numerous festivals in Maryland, Sonoma, and Atlanta. Other festival experience runs the gamut from projecting to serving on the advisory board for a variety of festivals like Slamdance and Sidewalk.

IMAGE organizes two major film festivals, the Atlanta Film Festival and OUT ON FILM, as well as providing numerous filmmaker services and education initiatives including workshops, salons, and screenings.

“I look forward to working with such an accomplished staff, whose dynamism, energy and creativity lead me to conclude that IMAGE is positioned to do great things in the coming years," said Wardell, who also served as IMAGE’s Programming Coordinator in 1997 under executive director Anne Hubbell. Others who have served as IMAGE’s executive director include Creative Capital’s Ruby Lerner and National Video Resource’s Brian Newman.

Wardell has a B.A. in Film from Bard College, where he matriculated after graduating from Phillips Academy Andover. He has written film criticism, a sports column, and freelance articles for Film Threat, The Baltimore Sun, and City Paper. Most recently, he has been contributing to an indieWIRE Blog, called, “Gabe’s Declaration of Principles.”

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Wardell developed an interest in independent film at an early age—his mother can be seen in John Waters’ Female Trouble, having her monster beehive hair-do teased silly by Dribbles.

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