SDF is Seeking a New Executive Director!


The next Executive Director will join a dynamic organization at a pivotal moment in its venerable history. Southern Documentary Fund recently expanded its programming and grantmaking. The Executive Director will have the opportunity to leverage the success of its recent films, programs, and historical legacy to set an ambitious strategic direction for the organization, raise its profile nationally, and further position the Southern Documentary Fund as a nexus for the highest quality social impact filmmaking and advocacy. 


THE POSITION                                                                        

The Executive Director will advance and uphold the mission, values, and goals of the Southern Documentary Fund. Building on the strong foundation established by its founders and constituents throughout the last 17 years, the Executive Director will be responsible for oversight of the organization’s day-to-day operations and programming activities, in collaboration with its committed staff, board, filmmakers, and stakeholders.


As the chief architect in an evolving organization, the Executive Director will lead the development and implementation of strategic plans to ensure Southern Documentary Fund’s capacity to thrive in accordance with its mission. One of the key responsibilities will be obtaining and sustaining financial resources for the organization. This individual will further develop and manage best operating policies and practices and will have a personable and inclusive leadership and management style that optimizes the staff and resources through example, delegation, and collaboration.


The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors.




Develop a comprehensive knowledge of SDF’s history, culture, programs, and films and understand how they inform its operational model; preserve and promote the values from the past, while enhancing the culture as the organization moves into the future.

Provide the strategic and operational leadership to envision SDF ’s next chapter, while maintaining its high standards of documentary filmmaking and overall relevance in the field.

Manage and supervise a small staff by developing and implementing integrated operational plans and timelines for projects across departments. Foster a culture of collaboration and team building, with clear decision-making processes and communication, and support for staff development opportunities.                                                                    


Work closely with the Board to ensure strategic objectives are in line with its mission; establish and maintain relationships with each Board member to harness their ideas, talents, and resources while continuing to evolve the organization’s governance.


Create a viable and integrated financial strategy that ensures the organization’s finances are on budget and meeting revenue goals; lead the efforts to expand revenue opportunities and create the infrastructure to support such additional streams of funding; cultivate and steward donor relationships, both individual and organizational.

Ensure the organization continues to meet its core mission by assessing and strengthening its signature programs; encourage growth of diverse and inclusive programming initiatives and develop effective evaluation methods to help gauge their impact.

Seek, engage, and leverage the ideas, talents, and spirit of both the SDF and larger documentary community, both past and present, to support their ongoing involvement in the organization.

Elevate SDF’s brand and profile across all media platforms, increase its visibility, and raise awareness of its work with cohesive and compelling marketing materials and editorial content. Enthusiastically represent the organization while advocating for its work and values.

Guide the organization to achieve best nonprofit practices of equity and inclusion.

Senior-level leadership experience at a nonprofit organization with demonstrated success in managing people and finances is required. Experience with media, arts, culture, or social justice organizations is preferred.


Proven skills in developing budgets and implementing strategies and solutions, with a demonstrated record of executing projects and expected outcomes within budget and time restraints.


Exceptional ability to manage and supervise people, foster collaboration, and build enduring relationships with staff, board, and diverse constituents utilizing strong organizational and time-management skills. Be results-oriented with excellent follow through skills.

Solid knowledge of, and experience with, foundation, corporate, individual, and sponsorship giving; have a verifiable fundraising record with the ability to cultivate, influence, and steward donor relationships for long-term engagement. Prior experience leading and developing a Board of Directors is preferred.


Knowledge and understanding of the independent documentary field, including new and emerging technologies, distribution platforms, and trends around engagement and outreach; previous experience in visual storytelling/producing independent film is desirable.



A dynamic leader with a high commitment to honesty, integrity, adaptability, excellence, accountability, conscientiousness, and transparency that is able to align, engage, and influence diverse constituents in a nuanced and complex environment.

A take charge leader with an inclusive and flexible management style and the ability to adapt when necessary to successfully accomplish strategic goals and initiatives.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A practitioner of innovative problem-solving who takes the initiative, has the confidence, boldness, and resourcefulness to propel the organization forward and successfully handle and resolve organizational issues that arise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

An analytical thinker with the breadth of experience and intellect who can make decisions with empathy, respect, and diplomacy, and is willing to work collaboratively in a small office environment.
Has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of the organization, an appreciation for its programming, and an enthusiasm for the South’s regional vibrant filmmaking community and the vital role of documentary storytelling in a democratic world.
A persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal, written, and oral skills to represent the organization publicly.
Competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience and qualifications.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. The cover letter and resume may be uploaded and should contain detailed information about work experience, past successes, leadership experience, and qualifications. Please submit to: Also please provide contact information for five professional references (including direct reports, supervisors, and peers/colleagues). If the immediately previous employer is not listed as a reference please explain why that is the case. 


Phone calls will not be accepted.
Southern Documentary Fund is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Durham, NC.  and is an equal-opportunity employer. Southern Documentary Fund proudly values inclusion, equity, and diversity in our external work and internal practices. The Search Committee seeks to develop an inclusive and diverse candidate pool and welcomes nominations and applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or national origin.

Read about the Southern Documentary Fund’s Mission, Values and History here.