BAFTA confirms today that Courtney LaBarge Bell has been appointed Executive Director of BAFTA North America.
Courtney takes up the role in March and will lead the BAFTA North America teams in Los Angeles and New York, overseeing all activity in its programme of events and screenings for members, including the annual BAFTA Tea Parties and year-round talent initiatives such as Breakthrough USA and the Newcomers Program. Courtney joins an executive leadership team led by BAFTA’s CEO, Jane Millichip, and will work closely with the BAFTA North America Board of Directors chaired by Joyce Pierpoline to grow the not-for-profit's membership, fundraising, sponsorship revenue, reach and impact in the region.
Most recently, Courtney served as the Director of Development at WIF (Women In Film), the preeminent organization working to achieve gender parity in the screen industries. While at WIF, Courtney played a pivotal role in steering the organization through a period of growth, navigating its development through COVID-19 and last year’s historic strikes. She oversaw all fundraising initiatives and cultivated key partnerships to secure critical support for WIF's programs and initiatives. She grew WIF’s development team, repositioned WIF’s annual gala into WIF Honors, and led strategy and implementation of WIF’s FYC campaigns and programming that partnered with studios to uplift women, nonbinary and trans creators in consideration for awards.
Prior to WIF, Courtney spent seven years in Corporate Partnerships at Sundance Institute, the leading global advocate for independent artists. While there, Courtney was instrumental in building large-scale brand sponsorships for Sundance Film Festival and pioneering innovative partnerships with corporations to bolster essential programs such as Women at Sundance and New Frontier, empowering independent artists with grants and resources.
Courtney's previous expertise spans across various top-tier festivals, including Tribeca, Telluride, Full Frame, San Francisco International and Future of StoryTelling, where she contributed her talents to sponsorship, strategic partnerships, operations, and programming. She is a graduate of Middlebury College.
Courtney’s appointment comes nearly three years after the expansion of BAFTA’s North America operations in 2021, which saw the unification of its Los Angeles and New York branches, founded in 1987 and 1996 respectively. Of BAFTA North America’s 2,240-strong membership of established screen industry professionals, nearly 1,600 vote in the arts charity’s annual Awards for film, games and television. BAFTA has a global membership of 12,500.
Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA, said: “I’m delighted that Courtney joins our executive team to lead BAFTA’s ambitious strategy in North America. Courtney will bring considerable knowledge and experience to the role from her time at Women in Film and at many of the country’s top film festivals, and I look forward to working closely with her and the North America team in the coming months.”
Courtney LaBarge Bell said: “It is such an extraordinary opportunity to join an organization that has a rich tradition of excellence and authentic commitment to uplifting diverse voices and advancing a more progressive future for artists in film, games and television. This opportunity to lead the BAFTA North America team combines all of my passions: empowering storytellers, championing inclusivity, progress and excellence in the screen industries, and leading mission-driven organizations. I look forward to working with Jane, Joyce, the North America Board, and the amazing and dedicated staff as we strive to build a thriving community for our members and celebrate artists breaking new ground.”
Joyce Pierpoline, Chair of BAFTA North America, added: “I am thrilled that we are entering a new chapter with the appointment of Courtney. She is an inspiring and influential leader in the screen arts with considerable experience across fundraising, partnerships and business development and a proven track record in supporting new and emerging talent. I am confident Courtney will take BAFTA North America to the next stage of its journey and help us deliver our ambitious charitable goals.”
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BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit www.bafta.org. BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).