The Flaherty names Jon-Sesrie Goff as new Executive Director

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The Board of Trustees of The Flaherty is pleased to announce that Jon-Sesrie Goff will become Executive Director effective 10 September 2018. Goff, who previously served as Museum Specialist in Film at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, brings considerable talent, deep knowledge of art and film, administrative experience, and leadership ability to the position. Goff succeeds Anita Reher, who helped to establish and solidify the Flaherty’s leading role among media arts organizations as an innovator of moving image form and champion for inclusivity and underrepresented voices.
“The Flaherty has been a forebearer of the exhibition and critical examination of the moving image since its inception. It is an honor to contribute to this legacy and build on the incredible work done by Anita Reher,” said Goff. “I believe in the transformative power of innovative storytelling, and with the continued support of the Board of Trustees, seminar participants and supporters, the Flaherty is poised for another 65 years as the vanguard of film culture.”
Goff comes to The Flaherty with over fifteen years experience in branding, advertising, film, and academia. He co-founded The Marcus Graham Project, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the development and advancement of the next generation of diverse thought leaders within the advertising, media, and marketing industries. Goff has worked as a producer, cinematographer, and editor on numerous award-winning documentaries pertaining to social justice and anthropology topics such as the history of Senegalese cinema; women’s rights in the Wayanad District of Kerala, India; critical pedagogy; and the American court system, including Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) and the Sundance-funded Out In the Night (POV 2015). He is passionately committed to the exhibition and preservation of African American independent and amateur film, which in his curatorial practice he uses to contest Hollywood tropes of representation and documentary convention.
Goff brings extensive programming experience to the organization. During his tenure at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, he has built meaningful partnerships domestically and abroad to produce programming with Perez Art Art Museum Miami, Google, National Gallery of Art, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ambulante Film Festival, A&E/History, and Experiments in Cinema (New Mexico). At a time when the contemporary media landscape is expanding rapidly and across multiple platforms, Goff steps into the Executive Director position with a keen interest in broadening access to film and media. At the Smithsonian he was integral to the creation of the Smithsonian African American Film Festival and participated in the development of its first unique media player, MADS (Media Asset Delivery System). He similarly aims to develop new pathways to the Flaherty films, its rich archival holdings, and the unique experience of its seminars.
“Anybody who has attended a Flaherty Seminar knows that it has a transformative ripple effect. When we interviewed Jon, we immediately recognized a kindred spirit who brings the imagination, administrative savvy, and vision required for the Flaherty alchemy to work,” said Pooja Rangan, President of the Board of Trustees. “With Jon at the helm we know we can deepen our mission of building community around the moving image with creativity and integrity.
Goff received his MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts (MFAEDA) from Duke University in May 2016, and his work has shown at the 2017 international triennial Prospect New Orleans; the Dillon Ripely Center at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina; and Papillon Art in Los Angeles among other venues. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the Just Films Production Grant of the Ford Foundation, the John Egerton Prize of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Princess Grace Award.
“Coming off of an enormously successful 64th Seminar, Jon-Sesrie Goff joins the organization at an extraordinary moment,” stated Jonathan Marlow, co-Vice President (with Genevieve Yue) of the Board of Trustees of the Flaherty Seminar.“With so much history, this preeminent institution invites many distinctive challenges. We are confident that Goff will tackle them with resolute ingeniousness.”
About The Flaherty
The Flaherty (International Film Seminars, Inc., New York, NY) is a non-profit organization dedicated to curating community around the moving image. The organization’s central event is the annual Flaherty Seminar, which brings together artists, media professionals and lovers of film for a week of screenings and immersive conversation about the state of non-fiction and narrative filmmaking. Founded in 1955 and named for Robert Flaherty, the Flaherty Seminar is the longest continuously-running film event in North America. It has introduced audiences to the works of hundreds of influential filmmakers, including D.A. Pennebaker, Agnès Varda, Satyajit Ray, Natalia Almada, Paul Chan, Charles Burnett and Lisandro Alonso. Today, the Flaherty also organizes Flaherty NYC, a biannual curated film series in New York (now in its tenth year), as well as screenings and partnerships around the world. In recent years the Flaherty has made tremendous strides in diversifying its programming and audiences, becoming synonymous with transformative curating and community.
This past May, over 700 audio recordings from fifty years of the Flaherty Seminar were made available to the public via a digitization project at Fales Library, New York University’s Division of Libraries. Previously the recordings and related ephemera had been available only to researchers working on site at Fales Library.
The Flaherty NYC screening series, will begin its fall season on October 1, 2018 at Anthology Film Archives with “Aftermath,” a series programmed by writer and curator Dessane Cassell.