Film Independent Taps Sean McManus, Josh Welsh as Co-Presidents

Execs are elevated to replace Dawn Hudson, who is now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ CEO

Sean McManus and Josh Welsh have been appointed to Film Independent's newly created positions of co-presidents, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

McManus and Welsh fill the hole created by former Executive Director Dawn Hudson, who departed in June to become CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

McManus and Welsh are leaving their current positions as Film Independent's senior director and director of artist development, respectively. In their new roles, they will run Film Independent's programs, which help foster indie filmmakers and expand their audience.

Also read: So, How Does Film Independent Survive Without Dawn Hudson?

McManus joined Film Independent in 1998. He initially served as development director and, in 2006, was promoted to senior director. Welsh came onboard in 2001, and since then he has been responsible for the design, strategic planning and implementation of artist development programs for the nonprofit.

McManus and Welsh "are a seasoned team whose skills and expertise complement one another beautifully," Film Independent Board Chairman Bill Condon said in a statement.

"They collectively possess 25 years of experience, in every area of the organization, and it’s clear they have a shared vision that will take Film Independent to its next level of growth," he continued. "We’re confident they will build upon the solid foundation Dawn established and will successfully usher Film Independent into the future."

"We [are] deeply appreciative of Dawn and her 20-year legacy of creating a uniquely warm and welcoming organizational culture," McManus said. "Dawn instilled core values in us and in Film Independent, especially freedom of expression, artistic excellence, inclusiveness and accessibility. We are honored to follow in her footsteps and are ready to move full steam ahead."

“Sean and I have a long track-record developing and administering programs together, so this will be a very natural transition for us and for the staff,” Welsh said. “I’m so excited to work with Sean in this capacity as we continue to expand existing programs and develop new ways in which Film Independent can provide vital support to the independent film community.”