Robinson succeeds longtime Film Independent chair Mary Sweeney, who has served in the position for the past nine years and on the board for more than two decades. Previously vice chair, Robinson will continue to work closely with the executive committee of Film Independent, the arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and serves to champion creative independence in visual storytelling.
Film Independent also announced three new members to join the board: Matthew Greenfield, president of Searchlight Pictures; Rhys Ernst, producer and director (“Transparent”, “Adam”); and Edward Rada, non-profit financial executive, who will serve as the executive committee treasurer.
“We are thrilled to have Brenda Robinson as the new chair of Film Independent’s Board of Directors,” Welsh said in a statement announcing Robinson’s election. “With her unparalleled passion and advocacy for the arts and artists, Brenda is uniquely qualified to help lead Film Independent. And I’d also like to extend a heartfelt welcome to our three new board members. We are so thankful and appreciative for Mary’s incredible leadership during her tenure.”
Added Sweeney: “It has been an honor to serve as Film Independent’s chair these past nine years and beyond. I’ve witnessed first-hand Brenda’s leadership and dedication to Film Independent’s mission to support creative independence and diversity. I pass the baton to her confident that she will be an outstanding leader of the board, as Film Independent moves into a new, hybrid future.”
Robinson is currently a partner at the film finance and development company Gamechanger Films and a member of Impact Partners, a film financing collective dedicated to funding independent documentary storytelling that engages with pressing social issues and propels the art of cinema forward. She was a financier on the Academy Award-winning documentary “Icarus,” as well as “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Step.” Her recent executive producing credits include “Passing,” directed by Rebecca Hall; “United Skates,” alongside executive producer John Legend; “The Great American Lie,” by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom; “Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story,” alongside executive producer Steph Curry; the upcoming “The Empire of Ebony,” directed by Lisa Cortes and produced by Roger Ross Williams; and “Marian Anderson: The Whole World In Her Hands,” directed by Rita Coburn for PBS’ American Masters series.
“Film Independent has been at the forefront of supporting and amplifying independent visual storytelling for over thirty years,” Robinson said. “As a board member and Arts Circle member, I have seen firsthand its passion and commitment to the arts and entertainment community, and I am excited and honored to lead the organization forward in its continued mission.”
In addition to her duties with Film Independent, Robinson also serves on the board of the Representation Project and is an advisor to the Redford Center. She’s also a board member of Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival, and she’s currently the board chair of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. She is also a member of The Recording Academy and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Film Independent’s full board of directors — a group of leaders from the film community who serve in a volunteer capacity — are Len Amato, Randy Barbato, Adriene Bowles, Mathew Cullen, Vondie Curtis Hall, Eric d’Arbeloff, Rhys Ernst, Javier Fuentes-León, Brenda Gilbert, Matthew Greenfield, Michael Helfant, Laura Kim, Sue Kroll, Karyn Kusama, Kasi Lemmons, David Linde, Mynette Louie, Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Ted Mundorff, Gail Mutrux, Sue Naegle, Col Needham, Catherine Park, Edward Rada, Alan Poul, Brenda Robinson, Andrea Sperling and Cathy Schulman.