McNamara Steps Down As Fest Director

McNamara Steps Down As Fest Director

Mike McNamara, co-founder and long-time executive director of the locally-based Midwest Independent Film Festival, announced his departure from the festival today. Co-founder Mike Kwielford will take over as the interim executive director.

"We thank [McNamara] for his years of service and leadership and wish him luck in his personal and professional endeavors. Effective immediately, The Midwest Independent Film Festival co-founder Mike Kwielford will serve as Interim Executive Director through the end of the 2017 season while they begin a formal search for a permanent successor.

"The Midwest Independent Film Festival's mission has always been to celebrate and strengthen the Midwest filmmaking community," Kwielford said. "Our patrons, supporters, and filmmakers can expect this mission to continue as we further grow the nation's only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker.”

Since its inception in 2005, The Festival has presented nearly 1,000 regionally produced independent full length and short films.

McNamara issued the following personal statement this afternoon which is being posted here in its entirety:

I am stepping down as Executive Director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. After being honest with myself and listening to friends and colleagues, I will be taking time to deal with some personal struggles, and to privately make amends with some friends whom I may have hurt. I do have more to say, but this open letter is not the forum for that.

I am proud of what has been accomplished in the past 14 years of this festival. The new leadership will uphold the festival mission of uniting and celebrating the Chicago and Midwest filmmaking community, and I hope they will have your support.

McNamara will also be taking a leave of absence from SCREEN to deal with said personal issues. He has been a prolific contributor to this publication since 2006, writing the CALL SHEET column in print and online.

The Midwest Independent Film Festival’s 9th annual Advertising Community Short Night will continue as planned this Tuesday, November 7th, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema. Please visit for tickets and additional information.