Sarah Escalante to Lead New Orleans Film Society

NEW ORLEANS – The board of directors of the New Orleans Film Society has announced the selection of Sarah Escalante as the organization’s new executive director, effective July 5. Escalante is relocating from the Michigan Theater Foundation in Ann Arbor, where she served as the director of programming and communications and festival director for the MTF’s Cinetopia Film Festival. Under her leadership, Cinetopia expanded staffing and programming and increased ticket revenue and attendance. She helped lead the MTF and its two historic theaters through COVID-19 closure (transitioning to virtual programming) and reopening.

“We feel confident that Sarah embraces the mission and values of NOFS and will guide the work of the organization to strengthen and expand upon the commitment it has made to the community, filmmakers, audience, supporters and funders,” said Donna Santiago, NOFS board president and chair of the search committee.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to join the New Orleans Film Society and its incredibly talented team and to meet and work with our extended network and partners,” said Escalante. “NOFS has a strong reputation and mission to provide space for diverse and local voices and perspectives and to start and expand conversations around the world. I believe that film and film festivals are transformative, and these conversation spaces are what empower audiences and filmmakers to become engaged, compassionate, and questioning advocates.”

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First up, Escalante will lead the NOFS team to raise funds for and produce the 33rd annual New Orleans Film Festival, scheduled for Nov. 3-18. 

The New Orleans Film Society discovers, cultivates, and amplifies diverse voices of filmmakers who tell the stories of our time.” Founded in 1989, it produces the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival annually and invests year-round in “building a vibrant film culture in the South to share transformative cinematic experiences with audiences, and connect dynamic filmmakers to career-advancing resources.”

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