After an incredible 13-year run, Deb Lake is stepping down as executive director of the Traverse City Film Festival.
“With sadness in our hearts and joy for her anticipated future success, Deb is moving on to other opportunities,” said film festival founder and President Michael Moore.
Lake has helped build with Moore what is considered by many filmmakers to be one of the best film festivals in the United States. Her legacy includes the restoration of the State Theatre, the opening of the Bijou by the Bay cinema, and service on numerous community projects.
“Words cannot express the deep gratitude we all feel toward Deb,” Moore said. “She has provided brilliant and dedicated service to this community. She is a modern-day arts pioneer, not just here in TC, but for all in the film world who know her and love her.”
Lake is looking forward to the next phase in her life and the good she can do. “The Traverse City Film Festival will always be the crown jewel of my life’s work,” said Lake. “I will be able to admire its success from here and from afar — but I plan to always be available to help Michael and the staff continue their amazing work.”
“I encourage all who are involved with the festival and the State and Bijou to redouble their efforts to make these cornerstones of our community even more successful than they already are,” Lake added.
Plans to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Deb Lake will be announced later.
“There’s no doubt, these are some mighty big shoes that are going to be filled,” said Moore. “Fortunately, she built a great core staff of smart, strong women (Susan Fisher, Meg Weichman, and others) who between them have nearly 20 years of festival experience. We are in very good hands for this transition, and, needless to say, I am here.”
Moore, who returned home to Traverse City last month after a successful run on Broadway, will personally oversee the transition and search for a new executive director.
“We have big plans for 2018 for the TCFF and the theaters and will be making some exciting changes to ensure the sustained longevity of what we have created here,” Moore said. “We are a critical piece of our local economy and the arts scene in general,” Moore added. “We take our responsibility for our role in Traverse City’s rebirth quite seriously. All of our work is about improving the quality of life for all here in Northern Michigan. We invite all like-minded people to join us.”