The Inside Out LGBTQ film festival has chosen Lauren Howes (non-binary) as the organization’s new CEO. They take on the role Andria Wilson resigned from in September 2020. The role of Howes will take effect on March 1.
In addition to being one of the largest LGBTQ film festivals in North America, Inside Out is the largest promoter and distributor of LGBTQ content in Canada. Howes is a veteran leader in the nonprofit world, bringing over twenty years of experience to the role.
Prior to their new role, Howes was Managing Director of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Center for the past 14 years. They have dedicated their careers to providing creative support to filmmakers, previously serving on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council, the Media Arts Network of Ontario, the Independent Media Arts Alliance, the Toronto Media Arts Center, as well as the vucavu.com streaming platform. .
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Through his work at the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Center, Howes has significantly increased his organizational capacity through fiscal growth, public programming and the development of the education market. They have positioned the CFMDC as a leader in independent national media art distribution and established a global presence in key markets in Europe, South America and South East Asia. They led the design and relocation of the organization to a fully accessible media arts center specifically designed at TMAC and recently developed an arts framework for people with disabilities in support of increased accessibility for artists and the public.
“We are delighted that Lauren Howes is joining Inside Out as the new CEO,” said Thomas Park, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Inside Out. “Lauren comes to us with extensive experience in not-for-profit and leading organizations with skills in strategic planning, digital technology, financial management, and people management. As volunteer leadership, they have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion and the growth of Ontario’s arts and culture sector.
“I am very honored to join the fabulous Inside Out team,” said Howes. “I am delighted to bring my passion for supporting our diverse audience and artist communities to my role as the new CEO. There are so many successes from my predecessor to build on to expand industry engagement, education development and community outreach.
They continued, “What a joy it will be to support queer voices by bringing their creative talents to screen and to leverage the Inside Out brand creatively for these ever-changing and ever-challenging times we are witnessing. I can’t wait to work with the stellar team and board of directors as we continue to develop the festival, and especially when we can get together in theaters again and celebrate in person.
The hiring process was led by executive search firm Leaders International, who worked with the board search committee. The search committee assessed a large pool of diverse and qualified candidates who reflected the dimensions of diversity and the lived experiences that Inside Out represents.
Howes joins Inside OUt ahead of the 31st Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, which runs digitally from May 27 to June 6. As the new Executive Director, Howes will lead Inside Out’s current strategic plan, which includes goals related to the expansion of the crossover festival. and cross-sector partnerships, launching new initiatives that provide direct support to LGBTQ filmmakers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, expanding educational offerings to provide professional training and networking for filmmakers everywhere. levels through online / distance learning, continue to develop and expand the LGBTQ Finance Forum (the first of its kind), and continue to increase content for women, BIPOC and trans / non-binary filmmakers in all exhibition and industry programs.