By Bob Keyes
Louise Rosen knew what she was getting into when she accepted the job as executive and artistic director of the Maine Jewish Film Festival. Rosen, who lives in Brunswick, has admired the festival for many years, and hopes to expand on its success and bring more national attention to Maine as a destination for great movies.
She makes her living as a film consultant, and has a long history as vice chair of the Maine Film & Video Association.
"This is a chance to connect on a deeper level with the community. So much of my professional life is outside the state and outside the area. I'm excited about working within the community here," said Rosen, who began her film and TV career with WGBH/Boston in the 1980s.
"For me, one of the most important aspects of the festival is that it's an important piece of Maine's cultural diversity. While the state is becoming increasingly diverse, the festival is a gateway both for the people here to see films they would not see otherwise, and also an opportunity for filmmakers from outside the state to see a unique part of the country."
The festival began in 1998 and has presented more than 300 films mostly in Portland, although it has screened movies in cities across the state. The festival has hosted more than 80 artists to discuss their work, and sold more than 32,000 tickets.
About 2,500 participate in the festival annually. The next festival is March 9-16, 2013.
Rosen replaces Kari Wagner-Peck, who left the festival for other opportunities.
Through the festival, Portland has distinguished itself as the smallest U.S. city to host an independent Jewish film festival.
In addition to her work with the Maine Film & Video Association, Rosen serves on the board of the Maine Media Workshops & College. She has operated a private consulting agency since 1995, Louise Rosen Ltd. The agency represents independent producers of nonfiction film and television. Her work involves advising filmmakers about project development, finance, production, marketing and distribution strategies.
Her projects have aired on commercial TV and public networks around the world, and many have been released commercially in theaters and on video.
Her portfolio includes Oscar-, Emmy-, Sundance-, Prix Italia- and International Emmy-winning films. She has received credits as co-producer on such projects as the documentary and IMAX films on Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition, "The Endurance and Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure," as well as "Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain," "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison," "Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears" and many others.
She's lived in Maine since 2005.
Festival board President Fred Farber praised Rosen. "(The festival) serves an important role in enhancing the cultural diversity of Maine, and Louise's tremendous range of experience will serve us well," he said.
Otherwise, she is learning as much as she can about the inner workings of the festival.
"While I am getting my feet under the desk, a lot of what I am doing at this point is taking it all in. It is a festival with a 16-year history, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. I am working on getting a grasp of the history and how the festival has grown and changed over that time.
"My initial goal is simply to amplify what the festival has been doing well," she said.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: