To the Extended Festival Family-
Melina Giorgi, Maryland Film Festival Operations and Development Manager, is moving to California in January to be closer to her family and to pursue her longstanding interest in photography. Her contributions go back to 2002 and are numerous and important.
Melina started volunteering for MFF in 2002, while she was a student at Towson University. From the beginning, it was clear she got the combination of friendliness, efficiency, and informality that we strive for. She rose through positions of ever-increasing responsibility. She assisted Taryn Gentry, Operations & Development Manager for MFF 2007, and took over her position when Taryn and her family moved to North Carolina in June, 2007.
Since then, Melina has been working closely with me on exploring new MFF funders, both in and out of our region. She was the coordinating staff person on a ground breaking grant from the Warhol Foundation that allowed us: 1) to increase our foreign film component at the annual festival, including filmmaker participation, and 2) to significantly step up our year-round filmmaker advocacy by creating a Filmmakers Taking Charge Conference during the MFF (initiated and partially funded by Board member Stephanie Carter) and by bringing films back for theatrical runs in Baltimore.
Melina has also played a key role in coordinating MFF Staff and Board activities, most importantly by helping to establish an annual fundraising event. The two fundraising events we’ve held so far continue our goal of connecting filmmakers to audiences in special ways, and have raised important funds for the ongoing MFF operations.
With Melina’s help, I’ve already started thinking about the next organizational steps for us, and we will start a national outreach after Thanksgiving.
We’ll miss Melina, we’ll welcome her back at every opportunity, and our good wishes will follow her.