There will be some changes behind the scenes at this year's Wisconsin Film Festival.
Christina Martin-Wright, the new director of operations, will serve as community liaison. Among her other duties, she will take on fundraising, a need identified by staff for many years as the festival has grown. Jim Healy, director of the University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, will supervise programming.
The changes simply reflect a need for administrative activities to catch up with the tremendous public success of the festival, according to Martin-Wright.
"That's absolutely what it speaks to," she says. "I am constantly amazed, being in this role right now, and also seeing the festival myself, as a community member. I thought I was keenly aware of what it would take to make an event of this size happen, but I had no idea."
Since arriving in Madison in 2000, Martin-Wright has held artistic and development positions with the Madison Creative Arts Program, Madison Children's Museum and most recently with Children's Theater of Madison. She's a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and cofounder of Madison's StageQ.
She joined the festival last semester. Martin-Wright has nothing but praise for the festival and its director, Meg Hamel, but she adds that change was needed.
"It's amazing what Meg has done, what the [UW] Arts Institute has done, definitely, over the last six years," says Martin-Wright. "And yet the structure that was supporting the festival did not significantly grow. So I think now, internally, we're starting to catch up to the magnitude of the festival itself."
Healy joined the festival last summer. "I volunteered to supervise a team of programmers, including my colleagues and veteran festival programmers John Powers, Mike King and Tom Yoshikami, with additional help from Heather Heckman and Kit Hughes," he says. "They've done the lion's share of the programming. Right now, I'm putting finishing touches on the whole lineup."
Besides new venues, such as Sundance Madison, the auditorium at the Chazen Museum of Art and the Marquee theater at Union South, the festival will feature a new state-of-the-art computer ticketing system.
The 14th annual Wisconsin Film Festival will be held in Madison April 18-22.