SIFF Taps Mary Bacarella as Managing Director

1/9/2013 | Seattle International Film Festival
Jessica Marx | 206.315.0683 |

SEATTLE (January 9, 2013) - The Seattle International Film Festival is very pleased to announce that Mary Bacarella, long-time Space Needle executive, has been named SIFF Managing Director effective February 1, 2013. Ms. Bacarella will lead the organization in tandem with Artistic Director Carl Spence and succeed Deborah Person, who has served as SIFF's managing director since 2005. 


Ms. Bacarella comes to SIFF after 14 years at the Space Needle LLC and Chihuly Garden and Glass, where she served as the Vice President of Brand Management. In 2012, She oversaw all aspects of the Space Needle's 50th Anniversary, including marketing, public relations, creative and community outreach. In addition, over the last three years, she was a key member of the team that spearheaded the plan from conception through the city and community process to launch to develop Chihuly Garden and Glass, the new Dale Chihuly exhibition that opened at the Seattle Center on May 21, 2012. 


Notable achievements throughout Ms. Bacarella's career at the Space Needle include her role as a member of executive team responsible for the $24 million remodel of the Space Needle. This massive project included re-branding the icon and all of its assets including retail, restaurant, observation deck and corporate identities. Additionally, she worked to secure the patent in the creation of an interactive entertainment system called "SkyQ" that is located on the Space Needle observation deck. This was the first interactive system of its kind to be debuted in any tower in the world. During her tenure she oversaw branding, marketing, public relations, community relations, sales and retail.


Prior to the Space Needle, Ms. Bacarella worked in public relations, handling accounts such as Nintendo, Radio Disney and Wolfgang Puck.


In addition to her professional resume, Ms. Bacarella currently serves on the board of Mary's Place, a women's homeless shelter in Seattle, and was a member for four years on the Seattle Central Community College Foundation Board. Additional non-profit work includes Gilda's Club and Unexpected Productions.


"Mary is the perfect choice to build on SIFF's significant accomplishments and lead the organization going forward," said Michelle Quisenberry, SIFF board president. "Mary has been involved with SIFF for 15 years and has a deep passion for the organization, she is a recognized community leader, savvy business executive, and understands SIFF's vision for the future."


"SIFF is very fortunate to have found such an extraordinary leader to join the organization," said Artistic Director, Carl Spence. "Mary Bacarella is an ideal match to work in tandem with, and to ensure the continued vitality and success of SIFF. I look forward collaborating with her to build on our recent accomplishments and strategic initiatives."

"This is an amazing time to be joining SIFF," said Mary Bacarella. "The solid foundation of this organization coupled with all of its great initiatives that have been launched in the last few years, such as the SIFF Uptown Cinema and the new SIFF Film Center make this the time to secure larger sponsorships, increase national and worldwide awareness, evolve the existing opportunities and seek out new growth prospects."


Deborah Person has been involved with the Seattle International Film Festival for more than 32 years, having started with the organization as a volunteer. From there, she became a festival staff member, joined the SIFF Board of Directors in 1999 and served as Board President for four years. In 2005, Person took on the role as Managing Director and has since run the organization in partnership with Artist Director Carl Spence for the past seven years. Although Ms. Bacarella comes on board in February, Ms. Person will remain on staff through the end of this year's festival to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.



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About SIFF


Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education.

Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly-attended film festival in the United States reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming presenting over 250 features and 150 short films from over 70 countries each year.   


SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on four screens at the SIFF Film Center and the historic SIFF Cinema Uptown, reaching more than 100,000 attendees annually.   


SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 11,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.



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