Inside Out, one of the largest LGBTQ film festivals in North America and the largest promoter and distributor of LGBTQ content in Canada, has announced that Lauren Howes has been appointed the new Executive Director for the organization, effective March 1st 2021. Howes, who identifies as non-binary, is a veteran leader in the nonprofit world and was the Executive Director at the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. They have sat on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council, the Media Arts Network of Ontario, Independent Media Arts Alliance, the Toronto Media Arts Centre, as well as the streaming platform vucavu.com. Originally hailing from the West Coast, the unceded territory of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, they are a fifth generation settler on the matriarchal line.
“I am so honoured to be joining the fabulous team at Inside Out,” says Howes. “I am excited to bring my passion for supporting our diverse communities of audiences and artists to my role as the new Executive Director. There are so many successes of my predecessor to build upon with an eye to expanding industry engagement, educational development, and community outreach. What a joy it will be to support queer voices in bringing their creative talents to screen, and leverage the Inside Out brand in creative new ways for these ever changing, ever challenging times we are bearing witness to. I am so looking forward to working with the stellar team and Board of Directors as we continue to grow the festival, and especially when we’re able to gather again in cinemas and celebrate in-person.”
Howes joins the organization in the midst of preparing for the 31st Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, which will take place digitally from May 27th to June 6th 2021. As the new Executive Director, Howes will lead Inside Out’s current strategic plan, which includes goals related to expanding cross-festival and cross-sector partnerships, launching new initiatives that provide direct support to LGBTQ filmmakers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftereffects, expanding educational offerings to provide skills training and networking for filmmakers at all levels through online/remote learning, further develop and expand the LGBTQ Finance Forum (the first one of its kind), and continuing to increase content by women, BIPOC and trans/non-binary filmmakers in all exhibition and industry programming.
Inside Out is Canada’s largest LGBTQ film festival. Founded in 1991, Inside Out is committed to representing the interests of LGBTQ voices within the Canadian film industry. Inside Out is dedicated to developing, presenting, and promoting LGBTQ content that showcases and supports the broad diversity of voices and identities, and ensuring that authentic and positive representation of LGBTQ people is central in that content.