“Our travels took us to so many of the great art house and classic movie theaters across the United States. One of my fondest memories is our experience at Film Streams in Omaha. Not only was the audience diehard cine enthusiasts, but they were so grateful that we made the personal appearance.”
- Penelope Spheris, Director of The Decline of Western Civilization trilogy
Currently celebrating its 15th year as an internationally recognized art house film center, Film Streams was established as a nonprofit in 2005 and has grown to an operation of two venues that are open 365 days per year and seven days per week, with 4,848 public showtimes and 292 different film programs in 2019. Film Streams oversees two distinct cinemas in Omaha, Nebraska: the Ruth Sokolof Theater and the historic Dundee Theater. Film Streams ceased operations in March 2020 due to COVID-19 and looks forward to reopening when it becomes possible hopefully later in the calendar year.
Film Streams’ mission is to enhance the cultural environment of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. Its strategic plan for 2019-2021 articulates five core programmatic areas—Community Development, Education, New Releases, Repertory Selections, and Special Events. Its goal for longevity and long-term sustainability in programming, relevance, and funding (“Preparing for the Future”) will maintain Film Streams’ unique ability to foster and engage through film while enhancing its flexibility and vibrancy in the community over the long term. As part of its Community Development, Film Streams will create collaborative events that foster dialogue and help build bridges among divergent and diverse community groups. As part of New Releases, “See Change” is Film Stream’s commitment to reach gender parity among directors of films shown by the end of 2021, presenting diverse experiences and underrepresented voices in contemporary filmmaking.
Situated in North Downtown Omaha near the Missouri River, the two-screen Ruth Sokolof Theater was Film Streams’ first venue, which opened in July 2007 with capital campaign support by individuals, foundations, and corporations. In 2008 Omaha World-Herald reported that, “Film Streams has become a major institution for our city.” The New York Times also noted that, “Film Streams has its ambitions. Both the movie house and its extensive offerings are the sort of resources one expects to stumble upon happily in second-city American metropolises—Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, even Washington or Chicago.” At the end of that remarkable opening year, Film Streams served 42,000 visitors and had 1,737 members. By 2017, having hosted more than half a million patrons, Film Streams was gifted the 92-year-old Dundee Theater from Susie Buffett’s Sherwood Foundation. Located near the University of Nebraska Omaha campus, the Dundee Theater is Omaha’s last surviving neighborhood cinema. Film Streams completed a major renovation of the theater and reopened it in 2017.
Each year, Film Streams’ robust education programs serves thousands of students from schools and districts across the region through attendance at free events at its cinemas. Supported by the University of Nebraska Omaha, Film Streams’ monthly student night served 1,287 college students in 2019. With more than 60 community partnerships, Film Streams reached 6,428 community members in more than 53 programs in 2019. A longtime member of Art House Convergence community of cinemas, Film Streams has partnered with national film programs such as Science on Screen and Sundance Institute Film Forward.
Film Streams is governed by an 18-member board of directors, chaired by Mike Lebens. Its FY19 budget was $2.4 million and its FY20 season has been reduced to $2.1 million due to the pandemic closures. Annual revenue is 58 percent contributed and 42 percent earned including box office. Founding Director Rachel Jacobson stepped down in June 2020. To run both venues 365 days a year, the staff includes 19 full-time and 16 part-time team members. Senior staff reporting to the Executive Director include the Artistic Director, Development Manager, Finance Manager, and General Manager.
Omaha is the Midwest’s best kept secret. The word Omaha means “Dwellers in the Bluff” and comes from the Omaha and Quapaw Native American tribes that lived on land prior to pioneer settlement. Established in 1864, Omaha became a major transportation hub for the Union Pacific Railroad due to its central location. Situated on Nebraska’s eastern border near the Missouri River, Omaha is a center of creativity, business, and philanthropy in the Midwest. Des Moines and Kansas City are just a two-hour drive from Omaha and Minneapolis and Chicago are a half-day’s drive away. Denver and Dallas can also be reached in a day by car. Today, the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area has a population of just under one million residents on both sides of the Missouri River.
Omaha is home to four Fortune 500 companies—Berkshire Hathaway, Mutual of Omaha, Kiewit Corporation, and Union Pacific—and many other major corporations, including Gallup, TD Ameritrade, and Werner Enterprises. In 2013, Forbes named Omaha as one of the best places for business and careers. Award-winning arts and culture thrive with a year-round calendar of events. The city is home to Opera Omaha, Omaha Symphony, Holland Performing Arts Center, and Omaha Community Playhouse, the largest community theater in the United States, as well as a rich variety of museums. Annual traditions include the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, the Omaha Blues, Jazz & Gospel Festival, Shakespeare on the Green, Heartland Pride Parade & Festival, Omaha Fashion Week, Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow, Oktoberfest, Native Omaha Days Festival, and Railroad Days.
Omaha offers a variety of recreational offerings. Visitors can take in the city views while traversing the 3,000-foot Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge or stroll through the 100 acres of Lauritzen Gardens. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is popular with visitors of all ages. Fontenelle Forest is one of the largest private nature centers in the United States, boasting more than 2,100 acres of forest, prairies, and wetlands along the Missouri River. There is a vibrant local food movement that connects to Omaha’s history as the meatpacking center of the United States. The city welcomes the Farm to Fork Initiative for restaurants with local agriculture and international flavors. The booming craft brewery scene and food truck vendors showcase a diversity of foods throughout the city
Sources: visitomaha.com, unomaha.edu, ohmyomaha.com, district.ops.org, historicomaha.com
Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will serve as the chief executive officer of Film Streams, overseeing all of the organization’s activities and operations. This individual will be a dynamic leader with a passion for both community and film, eager to maintain Film Streams’ position as the leading Omaha arts nonprofit and model cinema in the arthouse community. Joining a strong leadership team, including an extraordinarily engaged board and passionate staff, the Executive Director will leverage the foundational strengths of Film Streams’ outstanding programming, pursuit of institutional excellence, community collaboration, and consistent communication to maximize the organization’s impact in Omaha and the international film community. They will be responsible for all areas of revenue and operation and will work cooperatively with the Artistic Director to maintain the box office as a primary revenue source.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and Community Engagement
- Provide dynamic and inspirational leadership for a ground-breaking, progressive organization at the center of Omaha’s cultural ecosystem that motivates and engages the board, staff, and community members.
- Serve as Film Streams’ chief ambassador, committed to representing the organization and advocating for film appreciation, film education, and community building and staying attuned to the changing dynamics of the film industry.
- Articulate the organization’s mission to multiple audiences and create and oversee the implementation of effective strategies to expand participation.
- Develop and execute an exciting programmatic and educational vision in partnership with the Artistic Director, staff, and board.
- Provide strategic guidance to the programming and operations teams, collaborating with the Artistic Director on experiences that leverage programming expertise to develop audiences and cultivate donors.
- Actively collaborate with current and potential community, educational, and artistic partners in wholistic approaches to community initiatives and programs.
- Advocate for filmmakers, arts education, and media arts access throughout the community, Nebraska, and beyond.
Revenue Enhancement and Partnerships
- Direct all fundraising, giving campaigns, capital campaigns, special initiatives, and membership drives.
- Serve as primary fundraiser, actively maintaining strong relationships with Omaha’s unique and sophisticated philanthropic community.
- Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence by assessing the impact, efficacy, and sustainability of existing programs across all five programmatic areas.
- Develop a comprehensive sustainability plan and establish priorities, processes, and resources for new program development within budget, timeframes, and capacity.
- Implement a comprehensive revenue plan that progressively grows earned and contributed income.
- Support development efforts to build a strong cycle and pipeline management process that identifies, cultivates, solicits, and stewards philanthropic giving from individual, foundation, and corporate supporters.
- Navigate Omaha’s philanthropic community and cultivate relationships with current and prospective individual donors and institutional partners to expand, broaden, and diversify the donor and membership bases.
- Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of marketing and giving programs.
- Drive strategy for membership programs and increasing, retaining, and nurturing member loyalty.
Governance and Institutional Vision
- Collaborate with the board to ensure strategic objectives are in line with the mission.
- Establish and maintain relationships with each board member to seek their ideas, talents, and resources while continuing to evolve the organization’s governance.
- Partner with the board in its policy-making role and ensure its members have timely access to accurate and updated information to help them reach decisions that ensure the organization has the financial resources to realize its strategic and programming goals.
- Provide support to the board, including cultivation and recruitment, direction on good governance practices, support in fundraising, and ongoing education and engagement.
- Support and serve as ex-officio member of board committees: Executive, Development, Governance, and Finance.
- Engage the board in strategic planning, updating members regularly on the status of current activities and matters that require action, as well as ways in which they can help ensure success.
- Lead an innovative organization with a culture of inquiry and respect, encouraging staff to build partnerships and develop programs that support social change.
- Develop and direct short- and long-term participatory budget processes that values input from all voices, manage financial resources, and establish policies for transparent financial operations and reporting.
- Partner with the Finance Manager to maintain internal controls, ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations, and provide timely financial updates to the board.
- Maintain facilities, collaborate with the General Manager to ensure positive operations with restaurant tenant, and maximize concession and bookstore revenue while creating excellent experiences for audience members.
- Direct and support staff, manage budgets, establish priorities, and organize operations to ensure timely and smooth delivery of external programs and internal activities.
- Develop and maintain a sustainable staffing model to support the organization’s current and future needs.
- Inspire, mentor, and lead a long-serving and dedicated staff by fostering collaboration and teamwork, empowering each member to fulfill their role and maintain high professional standards in all areas.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a collaborative and engaged leader who can build partnerships and bridges to bring people together. Versatile and receptive to new ideas, they will lead by example with passion and a vision that inspires others. A self-starter, the Executive Director will establish a clear course of action and produce measurable results to meet financial, operational, and strategic objectives. They will be decisive and have the capacity to discern competing priorities and embrace opportunities in a timely manner while quickly adapting during periods of uncertainty.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Personal and Professional Accountability – The ability to self-evaluate and take responsibility for personal actions and decisions, accept setbacks, look for ways to progress, and understand how obstacles impact results.
- Problem Solving – The ability to anticipate and identify problems and challenges, analyze and evaluate causes and effects, and creatively develop potential solutions that mitigate negative impact on the organization.
- Leadership and Self-Starting – The dexterity to organize, inspire, and influence people to believe in a vision, creating a sense of common purpose centered on creativity, artistry, and diversity, and to demonstrate an initiative and willingness to start working
- Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to deeply respect others, effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, build consensus, and guide the team in support of their values and those of the organization.
- Customer, Donor, and Community Focus – The drive to instill a customer-centric approach throughout the organization, anticipating and understanding existing and future audience interests, and addressing broader interests of the community.
Senior leadership experience in a cultural institution of a comparably high quality, size, and reputation is essential and relevant degree(s) in the arts, business, or nonprofit management (or equivalent experience) is preferred. Qualified candidates will have or develop a deep knowledge of the independent film industry and wider media landscape, including trends around distribution, engagement, and outreach. A demonstrated ability to translate a broad vision and plans into specific objectives oriented towards results is required. Candidates should be financially savvy and possess a verifiable fundraising record of leading fund developments, including familiarity with nonprofit budgeting and financial reports. Management of physical facilities and operations of public venues, in particular to arthouse organizations, are preferred. Experience leading and inspiring positive change in a community similar to Omaha is highly appreciated. A broad range of life experience is welcomed.
Compensation and Benefits
Film Streams offers a competitive salary commensurate with results-oriented experience. The benefits package includes paid time off and an array of opportunities for medical, dental, vision, life, and short- and long-term disability insurances and a 403b retirement plan.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including anticipated salary range, please contact:
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite
Senior Vice President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Film Streams is committed to enhancing the cultural environment in Omaha. Film Streams celebrates
diversity in all forms and welcomes candidates who will bring diverse perspectives to its work.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.