New FESTWORKS Firm Announced with Kuo, Koehler, Rogers & Wildman

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on January 26, 2010




PARK CITY, UT (January 24, 2010)—Four former principals of the AFI FEST Los Angeles International Film Festival have joined forces to create a partnership that will offer a wide range of consultation services for film festivals.

Their new venture, FESTWORKS, will seek to provide consultation and services for film festivals of all sizes in the areas of festival operations, development, programming and communications.

Kuo (AFI FEST Artistic Director), Rogers (AFI FEST Festival Producer) and Wildman (AFI Head of Press & Public Relations) all announced their departure from AFI earlier this month. This announcement confirms Koehler’s departure as AFI FEST’s Director of Programming.

The fledgling company’s website states, ”As the film festival world grows more complex and mullti-dimensional, with greater demands placed on festivals to present exciting and relevant events to audiences while serving the interests of filmmakers and sponsors, there is a growing value for precise and informed services and solutions to the many needs that occur during the execution of a festival. FESTWORKS provides a one-stop service for festival operations, development, programming and communications.”

Kuo adds, “This collaboration allows each of us to have more creative freedom and is the best way for us to continue our commitment to artistic excellence and innovative film programming.”

Koehler added, “”We believe that the multi-faceted mission behind FESTWORKS reflects the current and ongoing changes in the film festival world, above all the need for exciting ways to devise, organize and execute festivals.”

“This partnership came together as a direct result of our experiences working together on this past edition of AFI FEST,” said Rogers, “And as the culmination of what each of us has identified as a need in the film festival community.”

Wildman concluded, “The four of us share a great passion for the art of film, for filmmakers and especially for the unique film viewing experience and interaction with those filmmakers that film festivals offer the public. It’s our hope that through FESTWORKS, we can help enhance the way things are done that will benefit both film maker and filmgoer and improve a way of seeing films that we truly love.”

Kuo, AFI FEST’s Artistic Director for the last three years, was recently named as Co-Executive Director of the Sante Fe Film Festival with Michael Hare and brings a wealth of experience in leading film festivals as well as film production. The architect of AFI’s successful “free festival” in 2009, Kuo is widely credited with the critical turnaround of AFI FEST.  In December 2009, the International Film Festival Summit honored her with its prestigious IFFS Excellence Award. Kuo has worked for Mill Valley, San Francisco and Santa Barbara film festivals, as well as renowned directors such as Michael Mann, Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese. She is an occasional contributor to Movie City News.

After a celebrated career as Daily Variety’s film critic, Koehler joined AFI FEST as Director of Programming in a move that inspired a new round of enthusiasm within the film festival community and began a trend with other notable film critics following suit over the course of the year. Having returned as a critic and contributor for Variety, Koehler continues writing film criticism for Cinema Scope, Cineaste, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Following a career producing film, music videos and commercials, Rogers joined AFI FEST as the Festival Village Producer in 2006. He subsequently became Director of Production at AFI DALLAS in 2008 prior to becoming AFI FEST’s Festival Producer in 2009. Along with successfully navigating the festival production and logistics of new venues in Hollywood and the festival’s move to Santa Monica during AFM, under his stewardship, AFI FEST enjoyed record crowds with remarkably smooth production details despite extremely challenging economic circumstances.

After his prior work with AFI, AFI FEST and AFI DALLAS, Wildman currently serves as the Director of PR for the DALLAS International Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and the Feel Good Film Festival (Los Angeles). He has also headed up the PR for past editions of the Lone Star Film Festival (Fort Worth) and the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Wildman has produced, written and served as the publicist for the Vision Awards (which benefits Retinitis Pigmentosa) for the past four years. In addition, he writes about film and film festivals for outlets such as Movie City News, Moving Pictures and Envy Magazine, as well as his popular blog at


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