Miami, FL (Oct. 2, 2023) – As the Miami Film Festival (MFF) celebrates 40 years and the upcoming 10th anniversary of its GEMS festival, taking place Nov. 2-5, 2023, Miami Dade College (MDC) announces the hiring of James Woolley as the Festival’s new executive director.

“I am excited about this opportunity to lead the acclaimed Miami Film Festival, an institution I highly admire,” Woolley said. “I look forward to building its international programming and connecting with audiences in Miami and from all over the world.”

Woolley has spent the last 15 years working on more than 20 large-scale film festivals, including the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane International Film Festivals. In 2017, he was named Sydney Film Festival’s head of marketing and customer relations, rebranding the organization and overseeing strategies to drive attendance. He comes to Miami after serving as executive director of Frameline, one of the largest film festivals on the West Coast. Woolley earned a bachelor’s degree in creative arts from Macquarie University.

“James has the passion, knowledge and experience necessary to produce a successful film festival, from developing programming to marketing and box office operations,” said María Carla Chicuén, MDC’s Executive Director for Cultural Affairs. “I know he will elevate the Miami Film Festival to new heights.”

Woolley will oversee all festival operations and activities while nurturing relationships with established and emerging filmmakers, distributors, sponsors, donors and the greater Miami film community.

“Miami Dade College is committed to serving as a cultural beacon for the community, and we are so proud of the Festival’s legacy,” said Maryam Laguna Borrego, MDC’s Vice President for External Affairs & Strategy and Chief of Staff. “Now with James at its helm, we’ll work to grow the Festival’s reputation and chart a new vision for the next forty years and beyond.”

About Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival
Celebrating cinema with two major annual events, Miami Film Festival (41st annual edition April 5-14, 2024) and Miami Film Festival GEMS (November 2-5, 2023), Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema.

The Festival welcomes more than 45,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. Major sponsors of Miami Film Festival GEMS include Knight Foundation, Telemundo, American Airlines, Estrella Damm, Telemundo, NBC6 and Miami-Dade County. The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

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Miami Film Festival Media Relations Contacts:


Steven Wilson, Scenario Communications | (310) 497-4951 |

Kylie Elliot, Scenario Communications | (818) 224-0839 |


Rachel Pinzur, Pinzur Communications | (305) 725-2875 |