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Gig Harbor Film Festival founder retires; board searching for new director

Gig Harbor Film Festival founder and executive director Marty Thacker is retiring from her post after eight years. Thacker, along with a small group of film buffs and Gig Harbor supporters, founded the festival in 2007, building on the dream of former Gig Harbor City Councilwoman Marilyn Owel.
Gig Harbor Film Festival founder and executive director Marty Thacker is retiring from her post after eight years. Thacker, along with a small group of film buffs and Gig Harbor supporters, founded the festival in 2007, building on the dream of former Gig Harbor City Councilwoman Marilyn Owel. Staff file, 2012

After building the Gig Harbor Film Festival from the ground up and leading it for eight years, founder and executive director Marty Thacker is retiring from her post.

Thacker, along with a small group of film buffs and Gig Harbor supporters, founded the festival in 2007, building on the dream of former Gig Harbor City Councilwoman Marilyn Owel. Thacker took the helm of the organization and, along with a strong board of community leaders, brought the festival to the success that it has become today.

Through diligent fundraising efforts and development of relationships in the community, the festival is a thriving one that will continue to grow and develop into one of the premier events in the area, board members say.

Board members credit Thacker with making it possible for area residents to see films that tell stories about important issues occurring in the world as well as showcasing the work of young filmmakers.

Thacker’s commitment to the festival has had a positive impact on the cultural dimensions of the Gig Harbor community, said Pat Nagle, who recently completed his first year as board president.

In accepting her resignation, the Board of Directors saluted her dedication in bringing the festival into being.

“We thank Marty for her hard work and wish her great success in her future endeavors,” Nagle said.

The festival is looking forward to even greater growth in the future, he said.

Liz Heath of Sound Nonprofits has been named interim executive director. Heath will work with the board during the first quarter of the year on making a smooth transition. The board plans on hiring permanent staff in mid or late spring, Heath said.

Next month the festival office will move to a new location, next to Bella Kitchen & Home, within the Uptown Shopping Center.

The 72-Hour Film Competition is set for April 3. This competition offers film-making teams the opportunity to write, shoot and edit a five-minute film in just 72 hours, incorporating special elements announced at the beginning of the 72-hour period. All films are judged and will be shown on the same day.

The 2016 Gig Harbor Film Festival is Oct. 20 to 23.

More events and activities are being planned. Those interested in being involved as volunteers and/or supporters are encouraged to call the festival office at 253-851-3456 or email director@gigharborfilmfestival.org.

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