IFP director Byrd flies coop

Executive leaving N.Y. film org after 17 years

Independent Feature Project exec director Michelle Byrd is ankling the org after 17 years.

Under Byrd’s watch as executive director, the New York indie film support org has launched a number of filmmaker programs. Initiatives include the Independent Filmmaker Labs — the fifth edition of which was announced last week (Daily Variety, June 2) — and Envision, a partnership with the United Nations that seeks to match documentarians with philanthropists. Then there are IFP’s long-standing programs, such as the Gotham Awards, whose profile Byrd helped raise.

In November Byrd announced internally her decision to step down but asked to fulfill the rest of her contract (which ends Dec. 31) so that she could help smooth the leadership transition. Time Warner’s Worldwide Recruitment and Executive Search has been enlisted by IFP to find a replacement.

“In an ideal world, there’d be an overlap between myself and the incoming person,” Byrd said. “This position hasn’t been on the open market in more than 20 years — it was the late ’80s the last time they looked for an executive director. I took over from the woman who hired me.”