LOS ANGELES, CA (January 11, 2013) — Film Independent co-presidents Sean Mc Manus and Josh Welsh jointly announced that filmmaker Mary Sweeney (The Straight Story, Baraboo) has been elected as the new sitting Chair of its Board of Directors. She takes over the position from outgoing Chair, filmmaker Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part I and II, Gods & Monsters), who has served as Chairman for the last three years. On the Executive Committee, Sweeney joins current Vice Chair, writer/director Rodrigo García (Mother and Child, In Treatment); Secretary, director/producer Alan Poul (The Backup Plan, The Newsroom, Rome) and newly seated Treasurer, Landmark Theatres C.E.O. Ted Mundorff. Condon will remain on Film Independent’s Executive Committee as a member-at-large.

“We could not be more thrilled to have Mary leading our board at this time,” said Film Independent Co-President Welsh. “She brings such a wealth of knowledge, energy and commitment to the organization and to independent film.”

“We are so thankful and appreciative for Bill’s incredible leadership during his tenure,” said Film Independent Co-President Mc Manus. “We know Mary is equally devoted to our mission and look forward to working with her to realize our vision.”

A big advocate of Film Independent, Sweeney has been actively involved in the organization’s film education programs, the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, as well as having served on many of its committees. In addition to her own writing and directing work, she’s served as an editor and producer with longtime collaborator David Lynch. Additionally, she is the Dino and Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, where she teaches screenwriting.

“As an independent filmmaker, I welcome this opportunity to strengthen my commitment to the independent filmmaking community,” said Sweeney. “Film Independent has been at the heart of this community for over 30 years, and I’m excited to work with the Board of Directors, Josh, Sean, and their dedicated staff, to build on the great work already being done.”

Film Independent, which also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA film series, comprises its Board of Directors with leaders from the film community who serve in a volunteer capacity, and make strategic decisions on the direction and vitality of the organization.

Film Independent’s current Board of Directors is comprised of the following industry leaders: Randy Barbato, Adriene Bowles, Effie T. Brown, Bill Condon, Laura Dern, DeVon Franklin, Sid Ganis, Rodrigo García, Vondie Curtis Hall, Michael Helfant, Marcus Hu, Laura Kim, Sue Kroll, Kasi Lemmons, David Linde, Allan Mayer, Ted Mundorff, Gail Mutrux, Tom Ortenberg, Alan Poul, Cathy Schulman, Mary Sweeney, Nancy Utley and Forest Whitaker.

About Film Independent
Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision in independent film. They produce the Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival, and LACMA Film Series. Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. For more information visit

Media Contact:
Greg Longstreet, Film Independent