By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire February 22, 2011 at 11:01AM
Updated 6:00pm EST: In another possible sign that the economic shakedown at festivals is on the mend, Gen Art said it has been acquired by Sandow Media and will hold its festival in New York in June. Just last May, Gen Art, the organization that produced 15 years of the Gen Art Film Festival in the Big Apple as well as other events in Chicago, California and Miami, announced it would shutter operations after struggling for over a year with the economic crisis.
With the acquisition by Sandow Media, whose flagship brands include beauty publication NewBeauty; business and finance magazine, Worth and Luxe Interiors + Design, Gen Art will re-open a little over a year after its closure. Longtime Gen Art senior executives Elizabeth Shaffer, former SVP, Events & Creative Director and Jeffrey Abramson, former SVP, Film will now serve as the company's Co-Presidents and will be based in Los Angeles. In keeping with its signature format, the 16th annual Gen Art Film Festival will showcase seven New York City premieres followed by seven parties at various NYC hotspots.
Commenting on the organization's resurgence, Abramson noted that a number of groups inquired about the brand, which also showcases fashion and art, following its demise last spring.
"In short when Gen Art closed, the outpouring of support was unreal," Abramson told indieWIRE Tuesday. "There were several entities that were circling. Sandow Media was introduced to Gen Art through 944 magazine which caters to a similar demographic. [Company founder] Adam Sandow saw an opportunity to engage with a highly sought after audience that they're passionate about and it can support through Gen Art."
Abramson told iW that the arrangement for him and Shaffer to participate came together soon after Sandow bought Gen Art in November.
"[Sandow] did some detective work and [came to the conclusion] that to maintain the integrity of the organization and to have a seamless transition he wanted to have people from inside the company. I've been here for ten years and Elizabeth for seven, so it seemed like an obvious outreach for him to do. It was evident when we first sat down that this would be good."
For the upcoming film event, Abramson said the festival will invite candidates to submit work, but that it is accepting entries for shorts. He also said the change in dates from its original April slot will give the festival more leeway to seek out work that debuted at SXSW or may have not played at Tribeca. Gen Art's Director of Programming, Aaron Levine, will return to his post and will be based in New York.
A calendar of Gen Art's other signature events will be announced in the coming weeks. One highlight will be the "Fresh Faces in Fashion" program which launched in 1995 and spotlights rising fashion designers in the U.S.
"Gen Art is a unique organization that understands the value of experiential marketing and uses this expertise to support emerging talent by introducing them to a savvy consumer audience," commented Adam I. Sandow, CEO of Sandow Media in a statement. "Marc Lotenberg, Founder & President of 944 magazine, introduced me to Gen Art, and his passion and support for the organization was instrumental in orchestrating this acquisition. I immediately recognized that Gen Art's innovative approach was a perfect fit for our organization. Sandow Media is thrilled to work with Elizabeth and Jeffrey as they lead Gen Art into its next chapter."