Jolene Pinder is a documentary producer and arts administrator with 15 years of experience in the independent film space. Most recently, she helped launch and served as the inaugural executive director of #CreateLouisiana, a grantmaking and mentorship non-profit designed to champion Louisiana talent in film. Recent grantees supported through #CreateLouisiana have attracted national attention, including 2019 Tribeca multi-award winner Phillip Youmans for his film Burning Cane. In the spring of 2019, she collaborated with local partners to execute a statewide tour for a landscape survey documenting the needs of Louisiana's independent filmmakers.
Prior to this role, Jolene helmed the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS)—the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF)—for six years during a period of unprecedented growth. She worked with staff and board to refocus the identity of the New Orleans Film Festival to become a premier discovery festival committed to highlighting Southern voices and spotlighting a more diverse community of directors from around the world.
During her tenure, annual festival attendance increased by 250%; yearly NOFF filmmaker guests leapt from 75 to 400; festival submissions increased five-fold from 800 to 4,000; the budget grew by 400%; and NOFF garnered the sought-after distinction of Oscar-qualifying status for all three possible short film categories. At NOFS, Jolene launched signature programs to support Southern storytellers and advocate for a more equitable, inclusive landscape (Emerging Voices, South Pitch, and the Industry Exchange). She also conceived of and secured funding for the Southern Producers Lab.
For four years prior, Jolene worked at Arts Engine / Big Mouth Productions in NYC as a documentary film producer and Director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. She recently produced the documentary short, All Skinfolk Ain't Kinfolk (dir. Angela Tucker), which premiered at DOC NYC last fall. Other documentary producing and associate producing credits include: (A)sexual (premiered at Frameline Film Festival), Arctic Son (broadcast on POV), Election Day (broadcast on POV), Pushing the Elephant (broadcast on Independent Lens), Terra Blight and the forthcoming documentary Hollow Tree (a recent Sundance Institute, Fork Films and IDA grantee). Her graduate thesis film Bismillah (co-directed with Sarah Zaman) won the Student Emmy in the documentary category in 2008 and was broadcast on Al-Jazeera that year.
She currently serves on the board of Court 13 Arts, was a founding member of the Film Festival Alliance and the Alliance for Louisiana Filmmakers, an inaugural fellow in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio, and has juried film festivals across the country (including Cleveland, Sidewalk, Ashland, and Dallas).
Jolene holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English Literature from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida’s Documentary Institute. She is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans' Institute of Politics.