Kwielford, Guth step down from MIFF leadership

Midwest Independent
Film Festival’s President
and Executive Director
announce their resignations
on Saturday-morning
Facebook posts

Midwest Independent Film Festival President Mike Kwielford and Executive Director Amy Guth have stepped down from their leadership roles with the organization. They announced their departures in separate Facebook posts on Saturday morning.

Finding time to focus on other film- and media-related projects appeared to be a motivating factor in each of their decisions.

“I have gladly and proudly put in countless hours as well as blood, sweat and tears over the past 15 years,” wrote Kwielford, who cofounded the festival in 2005. “In that time, I’ve also built a separate business with Potenza Productions— my dream career as a director of photography — as well as an amazing family.”

In his post, Kwielford mentioned particular fondness for MIFF’s First Tuesday program, a monthly screening event that started with a producer’s panel, ended with a party, and grew into a staple of the Chicago film community. While helping MIFF achieve this widespread popularity, he was also working to turn Potenza into an Emmy award-winning production and post company with partner Rocco Cataldo.

“It’s with nothing but excitement that I look forward to this next chapter of greater focus on my DP career and my family,” he concluded.

Guth intends to devote more time to her journalism career, a successful and demanding pursuit that began long before she accepted the Executive Director position at MIFF last year. She joined the festival after various roles with Chicago Tribune, including General Manager and Publisher of RedEye/Metromix.

“I will continue to be a presence behind microphones and laptops as well as behind (and sometimes in front of) cameras,” she wrote. “I’ve forged tremendous connections in the past year-and-a-half with the festival and I wish the board, members, and sponsors nothing but the best in everything they do.”

Besides serving as President of Chicago’s Association for Women Journalists and hosting Crain’s Daily Gist and two additional programs on WGN-AM 720 talk radio, Guth is a frequent contributor to related programs and events throughout the Windy City.

In October, she hosted People Who Usually Don’t Lecture: A Storied Harvest, an event featuring “speakers from diverse backgrounds telling stories about their lives as part of an international effort to elevate stories of everyday people” at Emanuel Congregation in October.

Upon learning of Kwielford and Guth’s decisions to move on, Chicago’s film and creative community responded with an outpouring of support, gratitude, and well-wishes.

Top photo: Kwielford and Guth at a MIFF First Tuesday event

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