Joana Vicente (pictured) will serve as interim executive director of IFP following the departure of Michelle Byrd, who is stepping down after 16 years of service.

Vicente currently serves on the board of IFP and has been part of the executive search committee to replace Byrd, who announced her resignation earlier this year.

She will take over as executive director effective December 1 and work with Byrd throughout the month of to ensure a smooth transition. Vicente will remain interim executive director until the search committee finds a permanent replacement. During this time she will manage the IFP, continue fundraising efforts, and develop and implement key elements of the body’s strategic plan.

“Michelle has been with the organization for 16 years and filling her shoes has proven to be a Herculean task,” IFP board chairman Jeffrey Levy-Hinte said. “Given Michelle’s imminent departure, the search committee decided more time was needed to find the ideal successor, and we are thrilled that Joana has agreed to serve as the interim executive director.

“Her long standing commitment to and intimate knowledge of IFP, as well as her business, film, and non-profit experience makes her an extremely qualified candidate for the position,” Levy-Hinte said, adding the board hoped Vicente would consider putting herself forward for the permanent position.

“As a European film-maker yearning to produce films in New York it was the IFP that first showed me a path towards my future career,” Vicente said. “The IFP’s workshops, panels and networking opportunities helped me find a way through the complex maze of independent film production, always supporting me in my quest for knowledge, talent and material.

“I am honoured to be able to serve such a vital organisation that has been so crucial to my own professional development and to that of my many colleagues in the independent film movement.”

Vicente has served as producer and executive producer on more than 40 features such as Lovely & Amazing, Fay Grim, Redacted, Chuck & Buck, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, and Awake.

She has played a key role in the launch and management of New York-based Open City Films, as well as the digital companies Blow Up Pictures and HDNet Films, which she co-founded with her husband Jason Kliot alongside Marc Cuban and Todd Wagner.

IFP’s 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards will take place in New York on November 30.