Two Golden-based Film and Theater Organizations Celebrate a Decade of Progress with Strategic Merger

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 — Golden, CO — Two Golden-based organizations whose missions aim to inspire and educate audiences through film and theater are merging.

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival (CEFF) and Golden Resource for Education, Arts and Theater (GREAT) will officially become one in the same on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012. As a long-standing registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, GREAT will nominate and elect four CEFF members as officers of GREAT’s board of directors and the film festival will become the sole focus of the newly combined organization.

The two organizations began discussions about a possible merger a year ago, when GREAT announced a renewed focus on providing resources to the grassroots cinematic and performing arts community it has long supported in Golden and CEFF concurrently began conducting a search for a new fiscal agent.

CEFF is an inspiring and energizing festival with world-class environmental films, local and national representation, topical forums and discussions, and films specifically for youth. True to the spirit of Colorado, the event is supported and attended by people who value the natural world and share a passion for the power and beauty of film. CEFF has been held at the American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th St., in Golden, since its inception. The upcoming event from Feb. 23 through Feb. 25, 2012, is the sixth festival.

GREAT formed and was formally incorporated in 2002 with the intention of restoring the old downtown Gem building into a theater. Its formal mission is to “enhance, promote and enrich our community’s cultural diversity in relation to the cinematic and performing arts.” In its first year, GREAT produced an evening of historic Golden and Colorado film shorts and a black and white fall film series. GREAT also held two outdoor movie screenings that year, which continued annually and ultimately developed into a partnership with the City of Golden in 2005 to create the Movies and Music in the Park series. Today, nearly one thousand people pack Parfet Park Friday evenings in August to enjoy the free family-friendly music and movies. Since its inception, GREAT has planned and operated multiple successful film festivals, Oscar parties and other movie screenings.

As GREAT celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the cinematic and performing arts in Golden are stronger than ever. Golden has its own independent downtown theater (Miner’s Alley Playhouse) and historic dinner playhouse (Heritage Square Music Hall), is home to several well-established film festivals (including CEFF and DocuWest Fest), an outdoor movie series that has been emulated throughout the metro area (Movies and Music in the Park), an urban renewal authority committed to bringing second-run films to Golden each weekend (Golden Gem Cinema) and even a cruise event that has begun screening films (Golden Super Cruise).

“GREAT’s merger with CEFF is really symbolic of the progress Golden’s cinematic and performing arts community has made. We’re bringing together an organization that sparked the initial interest in establishing film and theater in Golden with another that is showcasing Golden to an international audience of filmmakers and environmentalists,” said GREAT President Sabrina D’Agosta. She said the new partnership builds on the vision GREAT’s founders had a decade ago and the incredible dedication of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to further the arts in the community. Some of GREAT’s key members included Judy Bolis, Jean Cava, Pati DeLand, Tracy Evanko, Lisa and Scott Helker, Don and Mary Parker, John Spear, Sharon and Dale Wheatley, Geoff Wodell and Jim Zoschenko. Tracy Evanko and John Spear are the two founding members who remain on the board today.

 “This is an exciting opportunity for CEFF to build on GREAT’s history and realize new funding opportunities that wouldn’t immediately be available to us,” said CEFF founder Shawna Crocker. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity and look forward to another successful decade bringing high quality film to Golden and beyond. Our festival provides a venue for films that need places to be seen.  We plan to bring CEFF to other Colorado communities by packaging the best of our films for other festivals around the state.”

The four CEFF board members who will initially join the GREAT board and begin the merger process include Joe Brown, Karl Brummert, Shawna Crocker, Dave Steinke, Laurie Strain and Rocky Thompson. CEFF and GREAT both acknowledged the significant work of CEFF volunteer Jessy Clark who conducted the research to ensure the merger would be successful for all parties involved. Once the merger is complete, GREAT’s history will be maintained on CEFF’s website at www.ceff.net.

CONTACT CEFF: ceffchair@ceff.net