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Dana Harris: “I feel like I’ve been given a gift.”

Dana Harris: "I feel like I've been given a gift."

I hope she won’t mind my repeating this, but near the end of a conversation with Dana Harris earlier this week, she said to me, “I feel like I’ve been given a gift.”

It’s so exciting to know that indieWIRE is in the hands of a great team that keeps getting better, lead by Dana and including my longtime colleagues and good friends Brian Brooks, James Israel and Anne Thompson (as well as Peter, Jason, Eric, Nigel, Bryce, Sophia) and of course Ted, Rick, Stephanie, Albert and everyone at SnagFilms.

The search for a new leader began in earnest back in September after I announced my departure from indieWIRE and my colleagues moved deliberately to find just the right leader. Dana was pinpointed early on both internally and externally as the process developed and I am thrilled that Snag and indieWIRE tapped her to take the reigns. Kudos to CEO Rick Allen! As I told him earlier today, I’ve known and admired Dana for a long time and find her enthusiasm for this role infectious.

Dana will head iW from the West Coast, a bold move for indieWIRE as it builds on a solid East Coast footing. 2011 will be a big year for iW as it celebrates its 15th anniversary and Dana is the ideal person to lead the team as it embarks on this terrific new chapter. Over the years, we’ve said that we’d consider indieWIRE a success when we could hand it off and watch it flourish. That is certainly the case already.

Congrats, friends!

More from indieWIRE and Anne Thompson.

The official press release follows:

Variety’s Dana Harris Joins SnagFilms’ indieWIRE as Editor-in-Chief

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SnagFilms today announced that Variety Editor Dana Harris will become indieWIRE’s Editor-in-Chief, effective January 1, 2011.

Dana Harris has spent the past 10 years as an editor and reporter at Variety, including three years (2007-2010) as Editor of Variety.com, the movie and entertainment industry stalwart’s online site. With a 15-year career covering independent film, including stints as Managing Editor of The Independent Film and Video Monthly (currently called The Independent), and as a reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, Harris will become only the second Editor-in-Chief for indieWIRE, the leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry, and moviegoers alike.

“We are delighted to welcome Dana Harris as the new editor in chief of indieWIRE,” said Rick Allen, CEO of SnagFilms. IndieWIRE is a subsidiary of SnagFilms, the Internet’s premier online film site, which features free ad-supported viewing of more than 2000 award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film.

“Dana brings a passion for independent film, great chops as a journalist, and significant experience building and managing an online site. Her decade at Variety and nearly 15 years covering the film industry in Hollywood gives her an incredible perspective on how to make indieWIRE an even stronger institution. After indieWIRE founder Eugene Hernandez’s departure, we were gratified to speak with so many first-rate editors, writers and industry executives interested in becoming Editor-in-Chief; in that stellar field, Dana brought an exceptional combination of experiences that made her the stand-out candidate, and we are confident that working with our existing team, she will be able to continue the momentum indieWIRE has been building over the past two years.”

Since 2008, when SnagFilms acquired indieWIRE, the online bible for fans of independent film has assembled an extraordinary group of writers and bloggers, including Anne Thompson, Leonard Maltin, Peter Bogdanovich, and Sydney Levine, to complement its core team of veteran editors and reporters, led by Managing Editor Brian Brooks and centered in New York. This growth enhances its ability to serve the film community and discerning film fans, and has earned the publication a ten-fold increase in readership in the last two-plus years. With Harris based primarily in Los Angeles, indieWIRE also deepens its West Coast presence.

“I couldn’t be happier to join the incredible team at SnagFilms and indieWIRE,” said Dana Harris. “Independent film has been my great love, and it’s an honor to follow Eugene Hernandez as Editor-in-Chief. With the strong backing of Ted Leonsis and Rick Allen at SnagFilms, we will continue to expand indieWIRE’s coverage and presence.”

About indieWIRE

indieWIRE is the leading news, information, and social networking site for the international independent film community, including comprehensive coverage of indie, documentary and foreign language films, as well industry news, film festival reports, filmmaker interviews, and movie reviews. Its website includes special sections for high-profile film festivals, the new indieLOOP community site, filmmaker and industry weblogs, as well as resources and tools for emerging and established filmmakers.

Awarded the Webby for best film website, indieWIRE was lauded as a “must read” by Variety, branded the “online heartbeat of the world’s independent film community” by Forbes, dubbed “best indie crossroads” by film critic Roger Ebert and praised as “everything you need to know about independent film” by CNN.

About SnagFilms

SnagFilms features free ad-supported viewing of more than 2,000 award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film. All films are shareable across the web. Since its launch in July 2008, SnagFilms’ library has been featured on over 2 billion web pageviews, via more than 100,000 affiliates, and is distributed throughout AOL channels, and the websites of the Miami Herald and IMDb; portals like Hulu and Fancast; featured on the Starbucks Digital Network available in 6700 Starbucks in the US, hundreds of non-profits, special interest sites and blogs; and thousands of social network pages. OVGuide has twice named SnagFilms a Top Site and MovieMaker Magazine named SnagFilms to its annual list of “50 Best Websites for Moviemakers.”

The company was founded and is majority owned by digital entrepreneur, documentary film producer, professional sports teams’ owner and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, and is additionally backed by AOL co-founder and Revolution LLC Chairman, Steve Case; philanthropist and former digital executive Jean Case; operating executive and philanthropic venture capitalist Miles Gilburne; a group led by Ted and Jim Pedas, founders of Circle Films; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The SnagFilms family also includes indieWIRE, for more than 14 years the web’s top source of news, reviews and information about independent film.

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