Damien S. Navarro Named New Executive Director of Outfest

Damien S. Navarro Named New Executive Director of Outfest

The Board of Outfest-the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen--is excited to announce that Damien S. Navarro is joining the organization as its new Executive Director. Navarro was selected from a large and diverse group of candidates following an intensive search. As Outfest's next Executive Director, he will oversee its programs, staff, fundraising efforts, fiscal management and other day-to-day operations.

In making the announcement, Outfest Board Co-Presidents Terry Franklin and Marissa Román Griffith stated, "Over the last two years, our Board, staff and stakeholders have been working diligently to develop an expanded vision and strategy that will allow Outfest to be an even more vital and impactful advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. As we move into the implementation of this vision, Damien emerged as exactly the right person to lead us into the future. His passion, his proven record as an entrepreneur and a marketing and advertising leader, as well as his understanding of the power of storytelling to create real, lasting social change are qualities that made him standout during our search process. We couldn't be more thrilled about the future of the organization under his leadership."

Navarro has a long history in the content development and digital media space. Beginning in 1999, he co-founded Earthbound Media Group (EMG), a small production studio that later evolved into one of the fastest growing digital agencies in California. With EMG Navarro built an increasing portfolio of national and international advertising, public relations, and fundraising campaigns for Fortune 100 global brands, studios, nonprofits and publishers. In 2013 Navarro founded The Institute, a boutique consulting firm powered by a members-circle of thought-leaders in their respective fields. He then went on to become President of VIMBY, formerly MGM/Mark Burnett's Content Studio, where he leveraged the power of brand, cause and content and evolved the company into a next-generation brand entertainment studio.

To date, Navarro has led the teams behind some of the most widely recognized content-driven campaigns in history, including; State Farm's 50 Million Pound Challenge; Brookside Chocolate's Giving Back with Chocolate Tour; NBC / Walgreen's / Comic Relief's Red Nose Day; Cheerios / Walmart / Ellen's Moments of Good Campaign; Intel / Warner Bros' Wonder Woman in the Sky; Samsung / Vox's Edge of Medicine Docu-series; Politico Magazine / JP Morgan's What Works Next Digital Series; and the Daily Beast / Pfizer's Cure Hunter Series.

"Helping represent, protect and prepare the current and future generations of Queer storytellers and industry professionals while building empathy through sharing stories with audiences worldwide, is a dream role that I could never have imagined," said Navarro, who will take over from Outfest's current Executive Director Christopher Racster at the end of July. "I am excited to kick off my tenure at Outfest with the implementation of its new strategic plan, alongside an incredible team and with an impeccable and seasoned co-pilot, Outfest Deputy Director Kerri Stoughton-Jackson."

With its longstanding programs supporting filmmakers and creatives throughout the lifecycle of a film and their careers, Outfest remains uniquely positioned to nurture and advocate for filmmakers and film lovers worldwide.

Outfest's programs include: Outfest Forward, a series of educational and mentoring programs dedicated to developing emerging content, such as the Outfest Screenwriting Lab (an intensive three-day lab where industry professionals mentor the next generation of LGBTQ + screenwriters); the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, a partnership between Outfest and the UCLA Film & Television Archive exclusively dedicated to preserving and restoring LGBTQ moving images; and its festivals, the Outfest Fusion LGBTQ People of Color Film Festival and the Outfest Los Angles LGBTQ Film Festival.

Outfest Los Angeles, which kicks off its 38th year on July 18th, will mark Navarro's introduction to the Outfest community. Over the course of its 11 day run the Festival will screen 240 films from 33 countries, in 26 languages, with more than two-thirds of this year's content directed by women, people of color and trans filmmakers.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Outfest

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