Programming Maestro Jim Brunzell Leaving aGLIFF
Award-winning artistic director departs after seven years
By Richard Whittaker,
10:47PM, Wed. Dec. 23, 2020
2020 saw one last chance to give Austin's creative community a kick in the ribs. The All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF) announced today that Jim Brunzell will be leaving as artistic director.
Brunzell, who moved from his native Minneapolis in 2014 to take on the position, has become one of the festival's most significant guiding forces over the last seven years. A former film critic, and still festival director and a board member with the Minnesota-based film/music festival Sound Unseen, his tenure with aGLIFF has seen its reputation and standing on the national stage increase, while retaining its position as a landmark event in Austin's calendar of film festivals.
Brunzell made this comment:
"I’ll always look back on my time with aGLIFF as a creative and learning experience and one of the proudest moments in my adult life. There have been some memorable highlights in my seven years with aGLIFF such as when Matthew Shepard’s parents came to the festival to screen Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine in 2014; having writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell at the festival in 2016 for the 15th anniversary of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; the 10-year celebration of Shortbus was a trip; and being mentioned by the Austin Chronicle as a "Top 10 Local Queer Hero" in 2016 is a definite highlight, and one that took me by surprise. I’m particularly proud to have opened the 2018 festival with local filmmaker PJ Raval's Call Her Ganda and in the same year, having introduced two important awards; the Breakthrough Award singling out filmmakers early in their careers whose work we admired including transgender filmmaker and activist Jake Graf and local filmmaker Lisa Donato in 2019, and the Tribute Award which was our way to salute film artists that have made a significant impact to LGBTQ film including local Austinite Yen Tan (1985), Rose Troche (Go Fish) and Jim Fall (Trick)."
GLIFF President Casandra Alton called Brunzell joining the festival back in 2014 "a shining moment" in its evolution, and gave particular praise to him for overseeing this year's virtual event. "We will always be grateful for all the hard work and dedication Jim has brought to the aGLIFF community and we look forward to seeing him shine in his next adventure/role.”
There's no word who will take on Brunzell's position at aGLIFF, nor on Brunzell's future plans. However, he recently oversaw the first virtual Sound Unseen, and expanded it to cover Austin, giving local audiences yet more confirmation what an advocate for cinema in Austin he is – and hopefully will continue to be.