Board Statement Winter 2017

Board Accountability and Transparency Statement

This past May 2016, the organization MIX held a town hall meeting. At that time your new board heard multiple concerns, took into account current and former staff and artist feedback, and held multiple meetings to consider all possible rectification options.

The state that MIX was in was unsustainable, and in order to create a potentially sustainable, more inclusive festival, the Board found it imperative to make major executive, financial, and temporal changes.

We hope that even if you don’t agree with all the decisions, you trust they were made with MIX’s community in mind. All of you who are at the 29th MIX Festival want change, and we welcome it and welcome you. We hope you have a great MIX Fest!

- Jim Hubbard, Damien Luxe, Aden Hakimi, Yana Calou

Ps. The Board would like to thank Jim Hubbard especially for his hard work, guidance, and dedication to MIX. As of Jan 1, 2017 Jim has stepped down from the Board after 29 years of service. Thank you Jim, we love you!!

 

 

Full Statement By MIX’s Managing Operations Director

Hello Friends of MIX NYC,

I’m Devon Gallegos, writing to you as Operations Director of MIX NYC. It is with a dash of excitement, a surge of anxiety, extended spells of rage, and some granules of hope that I write to you all.

As the 29th MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival approaches, folks have been wanting a statement about the changes to MIX NYC for this year, and the years moving forward. We have spent the past year addressing festival concerns raised by current and former board, staff, artists, and audience members--building off the work/advice/suggestions of many folk who have given hundreds of hours of their time making the festival happen, both at the festival and behind-the-scenes. This has resulted in major changes that will determine the festival’s long-term sustainability.

Here are the changes that have been happening at MIX NYC the past year.

Organizational Development

The MIX NYC Board of Directors, along with key MIX stakeholders, have been working to determine how to reformat the festival in a way that is mindful to the capacities of its staff and volunteers, transparent and equitable in its fiscal and hiring practices, accountable to community mechanisms, and mindful of the needs and challenges of providing inclusive spaces of comfort and repair, while surrounded by an ever more harmful world.

As a result of these processes, our Executive Director, two Co-Directors, and a number of staff members have stepped down from their roles. It is with heavy heart that I type this, because they have made me the person I am, and I will always be grateful for the past 10 years of working with them to create the immersive builds that helped forge the relationships I and my colleagues/friends/family have today.

We honor the work they have done to build this festival and the MIX community, and hope to carry on that spirit as we ponder the next phase of the organization.

This process has been going on since February. This process is still going. After the festival, we will resume organizational development efforts, and I invite you to join us in creating the leadership structures of the festival moving forward.

Staffing

Our organizational changes are the result of hundreds of hours of volunteer efforts. None of us were paid, and all of us had to navigate part/full/no-time jobs, health and housing issues, and all the various factors that go towards surviving in this expensive city.

But now, as a result of a generous grant by the New York State Council of the Arts, and the Regional Economic Development Council, we have received a Workforce Investment grant to establish one full-time role within the organization for FY 2017, with a possible one-year extension.

As of January 1, 2017, I became MIX NYC’s interim Operations Director. The keyword is interim, because we need MIX NYC to be run by a coalition of voices. I’m up for being one of those voices, but not the only voice.

And these voices need to get paid too! Part of my efforts in 2017 will include the pursuit of capacity-building funds and other resources to ensure that work towards fortifying MIX NYC results in a reasonable compensation.

The MIX Office

At the height of organizational development work, the owners of the building that housed our MIX office gave us until the end of September 2016 to move out of our 13-year administrative home. 

After two months of packing, we shipped 40 boxes of archival material to NYU’s Fales Library, and the rest went to our storage spaces in Red Hook. MIX NYC is now a cloud office that exists in the homes and shared drives of many folk. We will seek out a new office when we are on better financial footing, but you can still reach us by mail at our usual mailing address.

Reduced Scope Of The Festival

We haven’t cancelled the festival, but we did need to postpone it to February 2 - 5, 2017. We feel quite behind, but actually, we’re very much ahead of things. We needed to be sure we weren’t setting ourselves up for more burnout.

There will still be a build, but the majority of it will be January 20 - February 1. To give a sense of how different the build will be, we’ll spend the majority of the time erecting the projection room, setting up Box Office/Merch/Hospitality, and some venue design.

If you want to help us with any stage of festival setup, email us at volunteers@mixnyc.org, and let us know how you want to help!

While the festival won’t be as immersive as in previous years, you will be able to enjoy the films and each other’s company until 1 AM, with potential afterparty options afterward. Once we further fortify our organizational structure, we will be able to resume the art builds that have made MIX NYC distinct from other film festivals.

As for MIX 30? We have talked about November 2017; we’ve talked about February 2018. But before we decide on a date, we’re going to take a long post-festival nap first.

The Venue

We’re very excited to be housing this new iteration of MIX NYC at The Spectrum’s new space, The Dreamhouse. As the world outside gets bleaker, spaces like The Dreamhouse are essential for providing a place to collaborate and support each other, providing platforms and projection screens that prioritize the visions and labors of underserved and underrepresented femme communities, trans communities, and communities of color. We’re glad we are able to put on this year’s festival while supporting NYC’s queer-led spaces.

There are opportunities to volunteer at The Dreamhouse every Thursday, before and after the festival, year-round. If you want weekly updates about volunteer needs at The Dreamhouse, email thespectrum6@gmail.com.

The Dreamhouse is a multi-purpose event space for your usage as well! You want to curate programming, hold a working group session, or shoot a scene for your film project? Inquire about booking The Dreamhouse for your event at bookdreamhousenyc@gmail.com.

We're Rusty . . .

. . . we’re tired, we’re weary of armchair fascists calling us degenerate aspects of culture, but we’re adamant in continuing to explore, share, and create queer experimental media— making art for ourselves and our communities— drafting, in visual language, the world we wish to enact for ourselves, our intimates, our families, our powers-that-be.

We need help— with festival production and with our year-round organizational efforts— if you want to help, reach us at volunteers@mixnyc.org

And if you want to reach me personally, my email is devon@mixnyc.org— I’ll do my best to field questions in a kindly but rambling way.

More very soon,

Devon Gallegos
Operations Director
MIX NYC