Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald has been named executive director of the 17th annual Hollywood Film Festival, founder Carlos de Abreu announced on Wednesday.
"Jon's experience in the online, film festival and worldwide film communities will be a great asset to the growth and new direction of our Festival," Abreu said in a statement.
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Fitzgerald was one of four co-founders of the Slamdance Film Festival — an annual showcase of independent cinema that takes place in Utah during the same time as the Sundance Film Festival — as well as a former executive director of Santa Barbara, Abu Dhabi and AFI fests.
The latter takes place in the Hollywood area between Nov. 7 and Nov. 14, normally overshadowing Abreu's Hollywood Film Fest, which runs less than a month earlier, between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21.
Abreu is trying to raise the profile of his festival. As well as hiring Fitzgerald, a Hollywood Network Program will initiate a series of meetings between independent filmmakers and industry professionals, and a new internet arm of the festival will select a number of short films to stream online in hopes of broadening exposure.
In addition, CineCause — a philanthropic platform Fitzgerald founded in 2012 — will partner with the festival's sister organization, Hollywood Gives Back, to celebrate the industry's creative artists who have supported causes around the world.
"I’m very excited to have the chance to build on the success of the Hollywood Film Festival, and look forward to incorporating these new elements," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "Filmmakers will have opportunities to expand their connections, leverage entertainment to recognize important causes and broaden their reach to the online community, here in the film capital of the world."