Gabe Wardell out at ATLFF

Just received an interesting press release from the Atlanta Film Festival. It appears that Gabe Wardell is out as the Executive Director at ATLFF365. No word yet, on whether or not it was a mutual decision. The lead is kind of buried in the press release, so I'm not sure what to make of it. Just for the record, CinemATL writer Charles Judson also serves as the Communications Director or the Atlanta Film Festival.

Here's the press release in its entirety:

Media Statement from Atlanta Film Festival 365 Board of Directors

Atlanta, GA (June 24, 2010) - Atlanta Film Festival 365 (ATL Film 365), formerly IMAGE, Independent Media Artists of GA, has been championing independent film and filmmakers since 1977.

By programming cutting edge films, the Atlanta Film Festival is one of Georgia’s most distinguished cultural events, serving as the region’s preeminent celebration of cinema and as one of only two-dozen Academy Award® qualifying festivals in the United States.

Year round programs, such as screenings, events, discussions, workshops, panels, and educational activities, coupled with an interactive Web site and engaged social media platforms, provide the forum to lead the community in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image.

Critical support is provided to ATL Film 365 through its corporate sponsors, its public funders (MAAF, Fulton County Arts Council, City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs and Georgia Council for the Arts) and its membership base, which the Board respects with great stewardship.

As ATL Film 365 approaches its 35th anniversary, the Board of Directors is excited about the future. Fully committed to the continuation of this vibrant organization and world-class festival, they have elected to pursue a re-focused leadership and operational strategy.

The ATL Film 365 Board extends enormous thanks to Gabe Wardell, in his role as Executive Director these last four years, for his tireless dedication to the organization's mission as well his passion and creativity in his efforts to build the festival into a superb event. The Board wishes to thank Gabe for graciously agreeing to stay on during this transition period.

Tom Karsch, former ATL Film 365 board member and former executive vice president of both Turner Classic Movies and Turner South will serve as the Interim Executive Director, while the board begins a nationwide search for their next Executive Director.

Tom will spend the coming months assessing the needs of the community, and the organization, to fully engage in identifying new partnerships and opportunities. He will manage the day-to-day activities of ATL Film 365, while working with the staff and board to plan the programs and events leading up to and surrounding Atlanta Film Festival 2011.

About The Atlanta Film Festival 365 Positioned at the intersection of art, culture and commerce, Atlanta Film Festival 365 brings meaning to the moving image by championing the shared community experience, fostering the free exchange of ideas, and nurturing the development of a thriving industry. The organization dates back to its founding as IMAGE Film & Video Center in 1977, an outgrowth of the need for equipment access, networking, education, and support among Georgia media artists and producers.

Over the course of four decades, the organization evolved into ATL Film 365, a membership-based 501(c)3, with a mission to lead the community in creative and cultural discovery through film.

Contacts: Board Chair - Walker Anderson 770.559.2190 Immediate Past Board Chair - Caroline Moise 404.373.2333