Farewell Statement from Erica Ginsberg
With mixed emotions, I want to let you all know that I have stepped down as Executive Director of Docs In Progress.
Fifteen years ago, Adele Schmidt and I were independent documentary filmmakers, looking for a way to help documentary filmmakers support each other in endeavors that can often make one feel very alone. We held the very first work-in-progress screening that Docs In Progress is named for in May 2004 in a space that, like so much else in our ever-changing region, no longer exists. Change is inevitable.
We were not the first film organization in the region. Nor were we the first institution anywhere to hold work in progress screenings. But we were steadfast in our belief that there needed to be a space for the documentary community – particularly in the Washington DC Metro area – to be able to share, support and evolve together.
And that is what we did.
Docs In Progress grew organically. First work-in-progress screenings that we discovered were as popular with non-filmmakers as with filmmakers. Then Peer Pitch. Then consultations. By the time an aspiring filmmaker asked if we could teach them how to make a documentary, we knew that Docs In Progress was poised for change. We needed a bricks and mortar space and some kind of institutional framework. Sam Hampton helped us become a 501(c)(3) and found us the original Doc House. Docs In Progress as a nonprofit was born.
As the organization evolved, I knew that I also needed to evolve. I made a bold decision to leave a steady career at the U.S. Department of State to dedicate myself to Docs In Progress as its Founding Executive Director. While the first few years were challenging, they were immensely rewarding personally and professionally. Docs In Progress was as much a learning lab for me as it was for those who it served. It continued to grow and so did I. Our beautiful, diverse, and evolving community of filmmakers and film fans kept me going.
And you still do.
As Docs In Progress begins its next chapter at Alexander House, so too will I begin my next chapter. Wherever the career path takes me next, I will continue to be a passionate advocate for the independent documentary community, especially here in the Washington DC area. I will also be making my own documentaries and look forward to seeing so many other documentaries where Docs In Progress played any role come to fruition.
I am so grateful to the incredible Docs In Progress family – dedicated staff and teaching artists, passionate volunteers, supportive funders and program partners, and awe-inspiring board members. Most of all, I am thankful to the filmmakers whose work has been core to Docs In Progress.
I know this announcement may come as a surprise to many of you, but it is simply part of the evolution of this organization. I may be departing from an office, but I am as committed to the spirit and mission of our shared community as ever.
A Message from the Docs In Progress Board of Directors
Dear Docs In Progress Community:
The Board of Directors offers our sincerest thanks, appreciation, and respect for all of Erica’s efforts to bring this incredible organization to where we are today, and wish her the best with her next chapter.
As Erica stated, 13 years ago she and co-founders Adele Schmidt and Sam Hampton realized their vision to give Docs In Progress a home that would serve as a vibrant community hub. Now our wonderful new space in downtown Silver Spring allows us to create even more programming and resources for documentary makers and viewers.
We look ahead to the next chapter in our work and are excited for the possibilities to grow the organization to even greater heights. Docs In Progress has always been a grassroots organization.
As the saying goes “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Please stay tuned for our Community Stories series Festival that runs November 13 -18. Now celebrating its 10th year, the series showcases films that explore the people, places and events that make our local community special. It also offers a unique opportunity to meet many of the filmmakers and the subjects featured in the films.
A search for a new executive director is forthcoming. In the meantime, our board chair Barbara Valentino will temporarily step down from the board to serve as Interim Executive Director, board member
Erin Essenmacher will serve as interim Board Chair with Andrea Passafiume continuing to serve as Program Director. Thank you.
The Board of Directors for Docs In Progress
To communicate with the Docs In Progress Board of Directors, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org