Denver Film Society story presents challenges for Denver Post
The resurrection of the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media isn't the only big development in the state's arts community. Today's Denver Post gives prominent play to "21 Resign in Denver Film Society Shakeup," an article by film writer Lisa Kennedy in which Bo Smith, the current executive director, brushes off the mass exodus with the line "Yes, we had to make staff reductions" in a voice-mail message. But there's much more to the tale than that, as is clear from a Wednesday story on the film-centric IndieWire.com site. Departing artistic director Brit Withey told IndieWire, "The staff began resigning before there were any statements made that there were going to be layoffs. The reason the staff is leaving is because of Bo's handling of the organization and not the economic situation facing the organization."
Here's where things get even trickier: Smith's hiring was championed by Nina Henderson-Moore, a former BET executive and past DFS board chair who just happens to be the wife of Post editor Greg Moore. Although Henderson-Moore isn't mentioned in today's piece, she's quoted throughout an April 17 Post report on the film society, also penned by Kennedy. That earlier effort only hinted at problems within the DFS, even though these strains were a frequent topic of conversation within the film community even then.
Westword is working on this story -- and the Post will likely follow up as well. After all, the DFS has been badly wounded by this episode, and we don't yet know when or how it will recover -- or where the facts may lead.