First executive dIrector on board at the BIFF

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Laura Palmer, who has spent the better part of 30 years working with a variety of nonprofit organizations, as been hired as the first executive director of Berkshire International Film Festival.

She will work closely with The BIFF's founding artistic director Kelley Vickery and festival executive assistant Lauren Ferin.

In an e-mail response to questions, Vickery said that Palmer's responsibilities "will mostly be the

business and development needs of the organization, but as a small organization that produces film events throughout the year and the ever-growing festival itself, she will no doubt be a helping hand in everything we do. She is very organized so can really be helpful to me in the overall structure of the BIFF weekend. I am very excited."

According to a BIFF news release, Palmer most recently served as vice president of the National Garden Conservancy's Open Days program, which she helped the organization to launch in 1995. She also worked with Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y; The Union of Concerned Scientists in Boston, and the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pa.

The decision to hire an executive director has been part of an on-going conversation at The BIFF for nearly 10 years, Vickery said in her e-mail.

"Nearly every film festival has an artistic director and an exec or business director," Vickery explained. "I have been holding down both sides for 12 years, with one part-time employee, Lauren. With the incredible growth that BIFF has had over the last 12 years, it has become glaringly obvious that my job needed to be bifurcated, and we found the perfect person."

Commenting in the news release, newly named BIFF board chair Pat Fili-Krushel said that "with the addition of Laura Palmer as our executive director, and the rich experiences of our two extraordinary new board members [Marcia Feuer, of Richmond, and White Plains, NY; Bob Harper, of Alford, and Los Angeles] and four new advisory board members [Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Maureen Jerome, Nicholas Ma and Sarah Patrick] t he Berkshire International Film Festival launches itself ever higher in the orbit of topflight film festivals."

The BIFF board of directors also includes Karen Allen, Shani Ankori, David Fenkel, Peter Herbst, Daniel Mathieu, Kate Morris, Mary Mott, Elissa Myers, Fern Portnoy, Annie Selke, Kevin Sprague, Richard Stanley and Tania Walker.

BIFF 2018 will be held May 31-June 3 in Great Barrington and Pittsfield.

Additional information is available at biffma.org.

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