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Film Streams hires North Carolina film fest leader as new executive director

Film Streams hires North Carolina film fest leader as new executive director

Deirdre Haj

Deirdre Haj has led the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, for more than 10 years.

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The leader of a film festival in Durham, North Carolina, is the new executive director of Film Streams in Omaha.

Deirdre Haj, who has also been senior adviser for television and film at Duke University, will join the nonprofit Omaha movie theater group on May 17. She replaces Film Streams founder Rachel Jacobson, who became president of Heritage Services in July.

Haj has led the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival since January 2010. During her tenure, the event became an Academy Award-qualifying festival, with growing membership and year-round programming and community engagement.

In Durham, she created a nationally acclaimed filmmaking course for teens and the Speakeasy Conversations series, which includes an annual panel addressing the lack of diversity in the documentary filmmaking field.

“Deirdre’s remarkable experience, her genuine passion for the art of film and her belief and commitment in cinemas as community builders make her the ideal person to advance Film Streams’ mission,” board Chairman Mike Lebens said in a press release.

Before Full Frame and Duke, Haj worked with federal agencies and Hollywood directors, actors and producers to examine onscreen depictions of public health issues.

A committee of Film Streams board members facilitated by Arts Consulting Group led a national search for Jacobson’s successor.

Haj is joining Film Streams as its staff prepares to reopen its arthouse cinemas in north downtown and Dundee after being closed for more than a year during the pandemic. A reopening date will be announced soon.

“I am excited and humbled to follow Rachel Jacobson and work with the talented team she has established,” Haj said.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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