Maizel had a prior stint with NIFF in 2006 as director of guest services and becomes the fifth director in the festival's 11-year history.
Co-founder Christine Schomer served from 1998 to 2002, followed by Greg DiStefano in 2003. Laurie B Kirby headed the festival from 2004 to 2007 and was succeeded by Louisa M Percudani, who left after less than a year in the post to pursue other opportunities.
'Jen is a superb addition to the NIFF; just the kind of person to take us to the next level,' NIFF board chair Alan Weiss said. 'She has broad-ranging experiences and skills that include management, industry contacts, fund raising, and staff development. We are overjoyed that we were able to lure her from Sarasota, which says a lot for our product, our environment, and our people here.'
'I'm very excited about Newport,' Maizel added. 'I think my main goal is to continue the strong relationship between the festival and the community, not just the Newport community but the state and the region. And I want the festival to have a strong relationship with the film industry. That's important.'