Along with MGLFF’s Program Director Carol Coombes, Laplante has co-directed the last 3 editions of the Festival. Laplante will be leaving his MGLFF staff post effective August 15th to work with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
“Jaie has been a tremendous part of our Festival’s growth and we will certainly miss him on the staff,” said Board chairman Michael Toomey. “We are delighted to be keeping him as part of the MGLFF family by welcoming him onto the Board of Directors where he can continue to be a part of MGLFF’s present and future activities.”
With Laplante’s departure, the Board also announced Program Director Carol Coombes would add the title of Festival Director to her job duties. A new position of Managing Director was created by the Board to assume leadership of the administrative, marketing and development aspects of the Festival and a candidate search is now on the way.
“I have poured a lot of heart and soul into the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival over the past 5 years,” Laplante said of his shift in status with the organization. “I love the enthusiasm of the audience and our members, and I feel happy making this change at a time when I know the Festival is as strong and as healthy as it has ever been. I know that we have a great team that will produce another top-notch 10 days of film, parties and panels next spring, and I am happy to remain with MGLFF in the dual roles as Board and Program Committee member as I seek to add new challenges and experiences with another true jewel of the Miami Festival scene.”
The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival was established in 1998 and in 9 years has grown to be one of the largest and most prominent film festivals of its kind in the United States. It is the largest GLBT cultural event in South Florida, audience attendee figures have grown by 27% over the last two years. Its 9th annual Festival will be held April 27 – May 6, 2007 in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.
In addition to Coombes, the Festival employs two other full-time staff, Festival Manager Kareem Tabsch and Operations Manager Victor Diaz-Herman.
Jaie Laplante has worked with MGLFF since 2001, first as Festival Coordinator, then as Festival Manager and finally as Director of Festival Operations. He was nominated for a 2005 Genie (Canadian Academy Awards) for his work as a screenwriter on the feature film “Sugar”, directed by John Palmer. He is a graduate of the Department of Film & Video at York University, Toronto, and has lived in Miami since 1998. He also serves on Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Arts’ Community Grants Panel.
Carol Coombes has also worked with MGLFF since 2001, first as Program Manager and then as Program Director since 2002. Previously, Coombes worked for five years at the British Film Institute on both the London International Film Festival and the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, administering 10 major annual events during her term there. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies, Film Practice & Anthropology) from Goldsmith College, University of London and a postgraduate diploma in Camera/Lighting for Film & Television from Leeds University.
A complete job posting for MGLFF’s new Managing Director can be found on the Festival’s website at www.MGLFF.com