TAMPA | The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) has named 2018 board members Mariruth Kennedy and Ed Lally as co-presidents for the organization’s 30th year.
TIGLFF, one of the largest and longest-running festivals of its kind, exists to showcase a selection of compelling film and video by, for or about the LGBTQ community. Its 29th celebration entertained audiences with over 30 selections Oct. 5-13.Kennedy, who returned in 2018 after a hiatus, previously served on TIGLFF’s board for eight years and as president for four. Lally, who has been involved since the festival’s inception, served as vice president for two years and has chaired its annual launch party for over 10.
“The festival is one of the crown jewels of the LGBTQ community in Tampa Bay. It’s important to our community,” Lally says. “I’m honored to be serving as co-president. It’s all due to the love of the festival and film.”
“Getting the opportunity to be a part of the festival again really feels like an honor,” Kennedy adds. “I’ve always loved film and I love the festival. I love what it brings to the community.”
To name the duo as co-presidents, the eight-member board had to amend TIGLFF’s bylaws. “The process was interesting,” Kennedy recalls. “The reason we did this was that we knew we were moving forward without an executive director.
“Ed and I work really well together; we have different strengths,” she continues. “He’s magnificent at fundraising … the festival is in solid shape because of his herculean effort this year. I handle marketing and we tend to be in sync. Looking at what we’re envisioning for the 30th we knew that it would be a great opportunity for us to work together while we shared what could be a big job for one person.”
“Mariruth is a marketing guru,” Lally notes. “With her marketing skills she already made a huge difference and added to the success of 2018. I’m thrilled to be partnering with her as co-president.”
Attendance for TIGLFF 29 was up 10 percent compared to the previous year, they note, in part because of a desire to reconnect with audiences. Kennedy says that they focused on the filmgoers’ experience – showcasing films in fewer venues toallow for more audience interaction and special programming that highlighted locals. “We were able to give people another layer to the film and our community,” she says. “It enlightened our mission statement.”
“We heard from the community and they wanted more than just the movie,” Lally says. “We plan to do a lot more of that in 2019. We’re going to have a significant 30th celebration; it’s huge to be the oldest gay and lesbian film festival in Florida, and just to be a gay and lesbian film festival that’s lasted 30 years. It’s starting to thrive again – it will be a huge celebration with a lot of new activities.”
TIGLFF 30 is currently scheduled for Oct. 4-12, 2019. For more information, visit TIGLFF.com.