Board Statement and Press Release – Executive Director Courtney Sheehan is Moving on in October

April 10, 2018

Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along to be a part of something wonderful. To create something beautiful and joy-inspiring as a collective unit.

Being a board member at Northwest Film Forum and actively participating as the organization has revitalized and so fully embodied its mission has been one such opportunity.

Courtney Sheehan’s vision and implementation of creative ideas has brought new life to the Northwest Film Forum. It has imbued the board, staff, volunteers and our community at large with hope and optimism.

At a time when many arts nonprofits are struggling, Courtney has successfully discovered new approaches to revenue generation, acted as a strategic accomplice for underrepresented populations, and served as an able administrator who has nurtured the talent around her and allowed NWFF to flourish.

Courtney will be stepping down as Executive Director in October of 2018. We, her team of board members, will miss her very much. We wholeheartedly support her in all future endeavors. She will leave NWFF in excellent health and in optimistic spirits, and we see a very bright future for both Courtney and the organization.

NWFF Board Members,
Sudeshna Sen, Megan Griffiths, Kiran Dhillon, Matthew Dresden, Peter Vogt, Alan Pruzan, John DeShazo, Miriam Marcus, Lindsey Windham, Raya Leary, Sharlese Metcalf, Jonathan Marlow, Nesib “CB” Shamah, Jennessa West, Matt Isaac, Heather Hughes, Sandy Cioffi and A J Epstein



Seattle, WA – April 10, 2018 – Courtney Sheehan and Northwest Film Forum’s Board of Directors announced today that Sheehan will conclude her tenure as Executive Director this fall, effective October 15, 2018.

Sheehan said, “After five years of service, I feel this is a healthy time for myself and the organization to start planning for the next chapter.”

Northwest Film Forum Board President Sudeshna Sen said, “Courtney is a dynamic and visionary leader who has rejuvenated the Film Forum with her innovative approach, creating unique experiences with exciting live components that leave our theatergoers clamoring for more. Under her watch, the Forum met and exceeded our goals – our financial health and high staff morale are a testament to her leadership. While we are sad to see her go, she’s once again led with the future in mind and given us plenty of time to plan for a smooth transition. We wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.”

Since joining Northwest Film Forum’s staff in 2013, Sheehan has elevated the nonprofit’s profile locally and nationally as an incubator for independent film, multidisciplinary performance, and civic engagement. With Director of Operations Christopher Day, Sheehan steered the Forum to its strongest financial position in its organizational history, including 25% increases in attendance and revenue in the past two years. Last spring, Sheehan and the Film Forum co-founded and organized a national initiative in response to the first federal travel ban in 2017. Over 50 venues in 25 states participated in The Seventh Art Stand, a series of films from the countries in the travel ban. In 2018, two partner film and media nonprofits, Tasveer and the Seattle Globalist, moved their offices into NWFF’s building, joining longtime resident Longhouse Media.

As executive director, Sheehan redesigned the staff structure to bolster operations and programs, oversaw capital improvements, launched a new website, and published a new mission statement. Sheehan first came to the Forum as a college intern, before joining the staff as program director in 2013. She became artistic director in 2015, and took on the role of the executive director in May 2016. She has been recognized with a Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Arts & Innovation, named one of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle, and named one of City Arts Magazine’s 2015 Artists of the Year. Sheehan will stay at the helm of the organization until October 2018, and will assist with the transition as the Board of Directors begins the search for new leadership in late spring.

Sheehan said, “I am proud of everything we’ve accomplished together during my time at the helm of this organization. Northwest Film Forum is a laboratory for artistic expression, civic experiments, and collective experiences. Immersing myself in this community through my various roles here has been such a rewarding stage of my career. NWFF continues evolving from a community organization focused primarily on independent film into a platform for artists and activists to explore the moving image as a vehicle for social change. No matter what my next challenge is, I am excited to remain involved as a dedicated supporter and community member of the Forum.”

At the upcoming Northwest Film Forum future-themed gala on April 19th, Sheehan’s contributions will be celebrated as the organization looks ahead to the next adventure. “It’s an exciting time,” said board Vice President Megan Griffiths. “We’re providing more access to filmmakers and audiences while staying true to our mission in a more inclusive and innovative way. We have an incredible staff who are committed to this work, and an engaged community who will help us build on Courtney’s accomplishments to take the organization to the next level.”

Paul Siple –
Programs & Marketing Coordinator, Northwest Film Forum

Jennessa West –
Board contact, Northwest Film Forum

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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