Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Seeks

Executive Director

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF) seeks an experienced leader who demonstrates a passion documentary films. The ideal candidate should have experience as a successful fundraiser while providing visionary leadership and daily management of a small staff. This is a full-time position based in the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

This year the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will be celebrating its 28th year, maintaining its tenure as the longest running all documentary festival in North America.  Every October, this 9-day event takes over the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Film lovers from all over the region come to participate in this one-of-a kind festival. With over 100 of the world’s best documentary films screening, HSDFF continues to bring free educational panels and workshops that provide unique opportunities for students & film lovers in the community.

Over the past few years HSDFF has been honored to host industry greats such as Werner Herzog, Stanley Nelson, Sally Jo Fifer, Brett Morgen, Kathleen Turner, Zazie Beetz and Missi Pyle to name a few. With dedicated base of sponsors and volunteers, the festival continues to connect life-changing stories and storytellers with an audience that possesses an unyielding passion for the art form. Bringing creative and varied voices to underrepresented communities is our mission, and HSDFF seeks a visionary leader that can carry this thriving festival to the next level.

HSDFF Executive Director Job Description

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for managing daily operations, fundraising, management of staff, marketing, development of programs, budgeting and producing the annual festival in October.

The ED is hired by the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute (HSDFI) Board of Directors and is accountable for directing all aspects of the Festival. The incumbent is accountable to the Board of Directors for planning, directing, coordinating and controlling Festival activities within the scope of basic policies established and within the authority delegated by the Board, and in so doing, is accountable for maintaining the direction and momentum of the Festival toward the objectives, standards and plans adopted. The incumbent will report directly to the Board Chairman. The job will be based in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Job Description & Responsibilities

Organizational Management

  • Take the lead in goal setting, strategizing, and planning for the annual festival.

  • Responsible for management of all Festival Personnel. To include creation of job descriptions and periodic performance evaluations. All festival personnel both full-time and part-time will report to the Executive Director.

  • Prepare and present budget to the board of directors and oversee timely financial reporting to the board and manage financial performance of the Festival to budget requirements

  • Lead fundraising efforts including Identifying potential sponsors and donors, creating sponsorship levels, creating and disseminating a sponsorship information package, and securing sponsors for the event; serve as chief grant writer and direct all grant writing of the organization

  • Be involved with community events and build relationships with area organizations. Maintain community relationships that will promote the proper Festival image at all times.

  • Responsible for all Public Relations and Communications for the Festival

  • Supervise festival logistics including: Site logistics, budgets, vendor contracts, box office, ticketing system and annual program guide

  • Manage and maintain personnel compensation, insurance, and permits.

  • Manage all vendor contracts for organization


  • Develop strategic plan to generate revenue and fundraising activities to support existing program operations

  • Responsible for recruiting new sponsorships while building on existing relationships

  • Serve as liaison to the film community, government, and business partnerships


  • Must possess a strong background in sponsorship development and fundraising

  • Experience in organizational management with a focus on managing the annual budget

  • Past success working with a board of directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships

  • Expertise with public relations and possess the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures

  • Demonstrate effective leadership skills

  • Written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills

Job Requirements


Undergraduate college degree and 10 years of management experience, or the equivalents thereof, including 5 years of progressively responsible management experience in an organization. MBA in nonprofit management a plus.


A minimum of 5 years of demonstrated success in staff leadership, fundraising, partnership development and financial management. Work experience with a non-profit organization strongly encouraged.


Strong and effective oral and written communication abilities. Knowledge of sponsor development, marketing and public relations experience. Success generating agency support, securing grant funding, and developing general fundraising platforms.


40 hours per/week during majority of year, and 50-80 hours per week during and leading up to the annual festival.

Job Type: Full-time

Compensation: Competitive salary commensurate with experience level.

To Apply

You will be required to submit the following: 1) Cover letter 2) Resume 3) Three Professional References 4) Fundraising Writing Sample (Ex. Grant Application, Sponsorship Letter, Individual Donation Request, or Invitation to Fundraising Event)

Accepting applications through May 1st or until the position is filled