Despite resignation, classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers will roll on


A Pittsburgh Filmmakers staff members mans an equipment sign-out desk. Emily Klenk | Staff Photographer

By Rio Maropis / Staff Writer

Though the executive director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts has resigned from his post, classes for Pitt film students at the nonprofit will roll on.

Charlie Humphrey, who was the executive director of Filmmakers for 23 years, also has overseen activities at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts since 2006, when it merged with Filmmakers. He announced his resignation earlier this week.

Humphrey’s departure comes after Filmmakers suffered a budget deficit of more than $750,000 earlier this year, and a majority of Filmmakers’ 32 full-time staff members signed a letter to the board of directors last week saying they had lost their confidence in Humphrey as a leader.

Because of the deficit, Humphrey laid off 20 employees over the summer. By September, nearly all 20 were rehired, but the nonprofit still had more than $300,000 of the deficit to make up.

The board placed Humphrey on an indefinite leave of absence Friday, Dec. 4, according to Jasdeep Khaira, Filmmakers’ director of artist services.

Humphrey announced his resignation at an unscheduled board meeting on Tuesday night. In the absence of an executive director, a three-person team will temporarily manage Filmmakers — John Cantine, Khaira, and Laura Domencic, director of Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Filmmakers will maintain its partnership with Pitt, offering film equipment, video editing offices, and classes based in production to film students — things Pitt’s film program doesn’t offer on campus, and Cantine, director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ School of Filmmaking and Photography, said Humphrey’s resignation won’t affect classes at Filmmakers in the coming spring semester, which begin Jan. 6.

“Most of the students have already registered,” Cantine said. “I really don’t expect this to change anything about that.”

At Filmmakers, the new management team isn’t going to change anything immediately, but is hoping to reevaluate the organization from its foundation up, .

“We’re not planning on making any changes on day-to-day operation,” Khaira said. “We’re looking to put into motion a lot of different moving parts as far as stabilization of this organization.”

Efforts toward stabilization will involve evaluating each of Filmmakers’ programs, defining their organizational structures and their needs. The team hopes to be able to identify where it can create more efficiencies within the nonprofit, so as to avoid budget issues in the future.

In the meantime, Filmmakers will continue to receive community funding for about two years, contracted in a stabilization plan that they drew up after the job cuts over the summer.

“As a staff and as a board of directors, we’re working together to keep moving forward with plans to revamp the organization, increase the communities that we serve and serve the communities that we already serve, better,” Cantine said.