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Featured Entrepreneurs >Liz Gardner

Liz Gardner, Co-Executive Director of New York International Latino Film Festival
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Transitioning Entrepreneurs
Learning Very Quickly
The Fear of Finances
Our Team, Our Family

Liz Gardner is the Co-Executive Director of The New York International Latino Film Festival. Along with her partner and the founder of the festival, Calixto Chinchilla, the festival has found a niche for films that speak to second and third generation Latinos. Although her entrepreneurship began in her own boutique, marketing, promotions and sponsorship agency, her path quickly changed after meeting Calixto. Their skill sets complemented each other, and before she knew it she was a partner and a co-owner of the festival. For Gardner the key to her successful partnership has been having very defined roles and understanding each partners individual strengths and weaknesses.

The festival was originally intended to be only a small screening venue for the films, however after HBO became a sponsor, the festival grew very fast.  Both partners needed to learn quickly how to deal with finances. Chinchilla and Gardner still find fund raising to be intimidating. Gardner and Chinchilla feel that the festival has been a financial success where other festivals have not because they view it as a business. However, extremely sponsor driven, it is important that commerce does not conflict with the artistic decisions.

What drives Gardner and Chinchilla to succeed is their team, which is really their family. Currently working between the festival and their new company, Cinedulce, many of their employees are performing double duty in their responsibilities. She knows that soon it will be time to expand the company so that the staff doesn’t burn out. A smaller company allows their team to have more opportunities for exposure and to be collaborative. Gardner feels that this, more than a salary, is what keeps them enthused and excited.


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