IFA Chicago names Wesley Julian as Executive Director

Wesley Julian

Following a months-long search by the Independent Film Alliance (IFA) Chicago to fill the executive director position after co-founder Angie Gafney stepped down from the position, the IFA has named Wesley Julian its new executive director.

Julian will lead the organization in strategic visioning, programming, fundraising, and operations as it works to fulfill its mission to build and support Chicago’s independent film industry. .  

With a deep understanding of non-profit development and governance, as well as film production experience, Julian understands the intersection of technology, media, and start-up business. As a leader, he will lend a unique perspective to the organization’s work on behalf of Chicago’s independent content creatives.  

“We are delighted to welcome Wesley Julian to IFA Chicago as the organization moves into an exciting phase of its development,” said Board Chair Michael Scott, Jr. “He brings a powerful skill set to the table, and we look forward to working with him to implement his vision,” added Scott.   

Julian has more than 15 years of experience with non-profits and government, most recently serving as director of development for Chicago’s tech hub, 1871, where he led diverse fundraising efforts, oversaw the day-to-day development operations, and expanded individual giving programs. He holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree as well as a non-profit management certificate from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. Additionally, Julian was producer and director of Tohoku Tomo and the 113 Project, a documentary and short film series exploring Japan’s 2011 earthquake and recovery.  

“Chicago has a robust and growing film industry, and I am thrilled to bring my energy to the organization. More than anything, I look forward to engaging with the community and delving into so much still untapped potential.  Chicago is the beating heart of America, and I am so honored to work on behalf of some of the most talented creatives in the country,” said Julian.  

Angie Gaffney, who will work closely with Wesley throughout his transition, says she is “pursuing her own storytelling dreams and focus on producing independent films.”

“I’m looking forward to potential collaborations and telling some powerful independent stories this year,” says Gaffney. “More news soon!”