Following the recent resignation of longtime leader Robert Rosenberg, Coral Gables Art Cinema has selected Nat Chediak as its new program director.
A source says an oral agreement between Chediak and cinema founder and former executive director, Steven Krams, will be confirmed at a meeting on Tuesday, October 14. Co-founder of the Miami International Film Festival, Chediak is a well-known figure in the film industry.
If the vote passes at Tuesday's meeting, Chediak will begin his tenure immediately. Krams told the Miami Herald that the job offer has already been vetted by executive committee officers and that he is confident the vote will pass without opposition. But some members of the organization have been blindsided by the turn of events, and say a lack of transparency has marred communications between the boards.
After Krams' resignation as executive director about two years ago, Bob Jacobson took over the post, and Rosenberg was selected as director of programming. Under Rosenberg's direction, the cinema attained huge success, becoming one of the highest grossing art house cinemas in South Florida. A source says, however, that Krams gradually sought more control over operations, which led to Rosenberg's resignation about three weeks ago.
Rosenberg told New Times that, while not uncommon in Miami, such direct involvement from upper management is unhealthy for nonprofit arts groups. The lack of public discussion, or even board-wide discussion, of the ongoing issues made staying impossible, he says.
"It really wasn't what I wanted to do, to leave the cinema at this point," Rosenberg said. "I had lots of ideas for ways we could grow....It's an unfortunate situation."
The source, who requested anonymity, told New Times that Krams began attending board executive committee meetings, although he is not officially a member of the executive committee as he is not an officer of the board, and alleges that secret meetings were held between Krams and the chairman and sometimes other members, unbenknownst to the rest of the board.
The source also says Krams retained an attorney without authority from the board to try to identify areas of non-compliance with by-laws, and had the bill sent to the cinema for payment. Krams then met with certain board members, apparently using the findings that the chairman was late in calling an annual meeting of the board, to effect a forced resignation from Jacobson. Jacobson resigned and in June, two board members selected by Krams, Miroslav Mladenovic and Gustavo Pupo-Mayo, were named chairpersons.
Some members are demanding for Rosenberg's return, the source says. The majority of the board were surprised and some were angry about allowing Rosenberg to resign, "given the entire board knows he is responsible for cinema's success, about Steven's unauthorized role, about the secrecy." A number of board members plan to confront the situation at Tuesday's meeting.
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They may have a tough time, though. Chediak is a legendary figure in Miami film. He founded the Miami International Film Festival in 1983 and brought it to international acclaim.
Calls to Steven Krams for comment were not returned by press time.