Julie E. Smith named new Best Video Film & Cultural Center Executive Director

Best Video Film and Cultural Center is thrilled to announce the hiring of Julie E. Smith as its next Executive Director.

Smith succeeds Hank Hoffman following his 28 years of service to the cultural community of Greater New Haven. She comes to Best Video with a wealth of experience, most recently serving as the Managing Director of the Keefe Community Center in Hamden where she oversaw four departments and approximately $50M in school building projects, Community Development Block Grants, and COVID relief. Before that, she served for twelve years in various capacities for the Town, including Director of Arts, Culture & Special Projects, and in the Mayor’s Office as the Chief of Staff.

“It’s been an honor and a thrill for me to have worked the past 27-plus years for first Best Video and then Best Video Film & Cultural Center and to help foster its community-oriented mission with our staff, Board, performers, and hundreds of supporters,” said Hank Hoffman. “I retire knowing BVFCC’s future is in extraordinarily capable hands with Julie Smith taking the helm. Julie has the energy and creativity to drive the growth of the organization and to reach out to new and diverse constituencies.”

Smith’s tenure at the municipal level was marked by her commitment to using arts and culture to drive economic development, the creation of new programs to expand access to cultural experiences for communities across Hamden, and her efforts to help guide the town through the most difficult months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her dedication to collaboration and inclusion will undoubtedly inform her leadership as she transitions Best Video into its next phase of growth as a premier destination for music and movie lovers throughout the region.

“The Board is sad to see Hank depart for a much-deserved retirement, but we couldn’t be more excited to welcome someone with Julie’s rare combination of enthusiasm, experience, vision, and community connections into this role,” said Board member Chris Renton. “We can’t wait to get started on a new Strategic Plan for Best Video and are confident that Julie is the right person to hear and understand the needs of our community, and work with the Board to meet those needs and exceed expectations.”

“I am over the moon to be joining the Best Video Film & Cultural Center community as Executive Director. My family and I have been members of BVFCC for over two decades and my children grew up here. As a Hamden resident, I am eager to showcase the cultural jewel that is Best Video Film & Cultural Center. We are a destination for people throughout the region at a time when the need for community and cultural connection has never been greater. I am grateful to the board and outgoing Executive Director, Hank Hoffman for their support and warm welcome. I have some very big shoes to fill and am looking forward to jumping in with both feet!”, shared Julie Smith.