Austin’s oldest film festival, The All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF) announced the departure of Jim Brunzell . Brunzell, who has served as aGLIFF’s Artistic Director since 2014, will depart after seven years of bringing meaningful and notable moments to aGLIFF’s programming. He will remain with aGLIFF through the end of 2020 and will continue to be Festival Director of Sound Unseen, the leading music film festival based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“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,” Brunzell said in a statement. “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).”
aGLIFF President Casandra Alton reflected on Brunzell’s time with the organization. “aGLIFF has evolved leaps and bounds over the last 33 years, and a shining moment of that evolution was Jim Brunzell becoming our Artistic Director. Jim has been an invaluable part of this organization and has been pivotal in keeping the heart of the festival intact through change and growth.” Alston continued, “Shifting to a virtual film festival this past year was a difficult but rewarding task, and Jim was instrumental in guiding us through that process. Our 33rd Annual Festival was unlike any other year, and it felt like the right time to pass the torch for the next chapter of aGLIFF and the festival. 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.”