Steve MacQueen Named Executive Director of Vermont International Film Festival | Arts News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Steve MacQueen Named Executive Director of Vermont International Film Festival


Published May 22, 2023 at 7:10 p.m.
Updated May 24, 2023 at 10:05 a.m.

  • Courtesy of Steve MacQueen
  • Steve MacQueen
Steve MacQueen, former artistic director of the Flynn in Burlington, will be the new executive director of the Vermont International Film Festival, the organization announced on Monday.

MacQueen assumes leadership of the Burlington-based nonprofit on June 12, succeeding Orly Yadin. VTIFF presents films and affiliated programming through three annual film festivals — its namesake festival, Made Here and Global Roots.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” MacQueen, 59, told Seven Days. “It’s everything I’ve loved to do since I was a kid — see films and go to movies — and all the professional things I’ve done: running festivals and being an arts administrator. It’s a meeting of the two.”

MacQueen was artistic director of the Flynn for 10 years, until he resigned in February 2022. Two months later he became executive artistic director of Circus Smirkus, the Greensboro-based children’s circus organization. He left that job in April — and said he "trusted the universe" that a new opportunity would come along.

"It felt like a good time for me to step out and for them to hire someone more circus-centric to run the show," MacQueen said, noting that he and others at Circus Smirkus had addressed the challenges presented coming out of the pandemic.

Yadin announced in February that she would leave her role as executive director of VTIFF, a position she’s held since 2012. The festival, which was founded in 1985 at Marlboro College, has grown under her leadership. Its annual budget is roughly $300,000, and it presents about 100 films a year to Vermont audiences.

“I think Steve is a perfect fit for the position and look forward to seeing VTIFF continue to grow and serve the community through film," Yadin said in a press release from VTIFF announcing MacQueen’s appointment. "He’s very passionate about film as an art form, and he has local, regional and national connections that will greatly benefit the festival.”

Yadin will help with the transition and serve as acting director of this year’s 10-day Vermont International Film Festival, to be held in October.

As he looks forward to leading VTIFF, MacQueen said he intends to become “rooted” in the organization and his role there before instituting changes. He hopes to continue the nonprofit's expansion but said he will observe and take a wait-and-see approach before determining what form growth might take.

“It's not an organization that needs blowing up," MacQueen said. "It's running well. I want to spend time watching and getting to know the board.”

 Board president Arnie Malina, who issued the press release, said in the notice: "With his love and knowledge of film, deep connection to the Vermont community and administration of the arts, Steve was a commanding choice of the search committee. We are happy to welcome him to the helm of VTIFF."

MacQueen has served on the VTIFF board since August. He’ll step down from that role when he becomes its executive director next month.

"It's everything that I love to do and everything that I’m good at doing coming together," he said. "It's pretty fabulous."

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