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33 Years with SIFF – Honoring Deborah Person

Today, I presented a joint Mayor-Council proclamation to Deborah Person, the recently “retired” Managing Director of the 39-years-and-still-going-strong Seattle International Film Festival – also known as SIFF.

Councilmember Licata presents the "Deborah Person Day" proclamation to Deborah Person.

Councilmember Licata presents
the “Deborah Person Day” proclamation
to…you guessed it…Deborah Person!

Last year, she announced she’d be stepping down this year, noting that her original two year commitment as Managing Director had somehow stretched to seven. Before that, she had spent 26 years working in some capacity for the festival. Deborah is the main reason SIFF is now the most well-attended film festival in the country.

Mary Bacarella succeeds Person as SIFF’s Managing Director. Having met her recently, I’m sure the festival is in good hands. 

If you missed this year’s festival, which ended yesterday, be sure to catch it next year by visiting their website for news on their upcoming 40 year anniversary festival. If you become a member, you can participate in SIFF happenings year around.

The text of Person’s proclamation:

In Recognition of Deborah Person

WHEREAS, for 39 years, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has created experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world, fostering a community that is more informed, aware, and alive; and

 WHEREAS, Deborah Person’s first SIFF experience was during its fourth installment, in 1979, when at 13 years old she saw “A Little Romance,” starring Laurence Olivier and Sally Kellerman; and

 WHEREAS, at 14, Person began volunteering as an usher and in the box office answering questions and by 1997 was hired as the Women in Cinema Guest Relations Director, soon after becoming Guest Relations Director for the entire Festival;

 WHEREAS, in 1999, Person joined SIFF’s Board of Directors, was elected Board President within a year and in 2005 was appointed SIFF interim Managing Director. After a nation-wide search that same year, she became permanent Managing Director; and

 WHEREAS, as Managing Director, Person steered a successful capital campaign to build SIFF’s first permanent home – SIFF Film Center; established its first year-around theater – SIFF Cinema; expanded the Festival to Bellevue, Kirkland and Everett; for the first time boosted box office receipts above $1 million and attendance over 250,000; and

 WHEREAS, in 2012, Person announced her decision to step down in 2013 as Managing Director, noting that her original two year commitment had somehow stretched to seven;

 Now, therefore, The Mayor of Seattle and Seattle City Council proclaim:

June 10th, 2013

Deborah Person Day

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