Joe Tiefenthaler steps down as executive director of FilmScene

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Joe Tiefenthaler, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

FilmScene announced on Friday its executive director Joe Tiefenthaler resigned last week, after five years at the nonprofit cinema.

“On Friday, October 4th, I stepped down from my duties at FilmScene — an emotional but necessary move as I turn my focus to new endeavors in our community and beyond,” Tiefenthaler said in a written statement.

In a statement on behalf FilmScene, the cinema’s co-founder Andrew Sherburne and board of directors chair Karen Chappell said, “Joe leaves FilmScene in a strong position for continued growth, serving audiences through mission-based film exhibition and engagement. The board and staff of FilmScene wish Joe the very best in his future endeavors.”

Tiefenthaler joined FilmScene as its executive director in September 2014. He was already well-known on the Iowa City arts scene, having previously been served as Fall Resident coordinator at the International Writing Program and as a coordinator of literary programming for the Mission Creek Festival.

“It has been a great honor to serve as FilmScene’s executive director for these past five years,” Tiefenthaler said.

In his statement, Tiefenthaler summarized the growth of FilmScene during the past five years: “we have grown from one screen to five; from three salaried employees to 10; from 150 movies a year to over 350; from 500 members to over 1,700; from 30,000 tickets to over 50,000; and from a $450,000 annual budget to one in 2020 that will reach $2M.”

Just two weeks before Tiefenthaler stepped down, FilmScene celebrated the grand opening of its new theater in The Chauncey.

Andrew Sherburne has been named interim executive director, while the search for a permanent replacement is underway.

“To find a new director, FilmScene is establishing a search committee composed of board members and representatives of our business, arts, university and film communities and will be posting a position in the near future,” Sherburne and Chappell said in their statement.

“As I take a bit of personal time to reflect upon and truly appreciate the value and opportunity of working at FilmScene during this period of extraordinary change, I will be thinking of all of you who helped make this such an important chapter in my life,” Tiefenthaler said.

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  1. Joe was a gift to FilmScene and to the Eastern Iowa arts community. I hope his future plans involve helping some cultural organization or arts community flourish with the help of his insight and talent.

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