Board chair Mary Sweeney said on Wednesday [24] that McManus was stepping down as co-president after 15 years at Film Independent to pursue other opportunities.

McManus served as co-president alongside Josh Welsh since January 2012. Effective immediately, Welsh will become president.

“Upon the close of our terrific 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival, it felt like a natural time to look ahead and I’ve realised that this is the perfect time to make a change in my own life,” said McManus.

“As a result, I have decided to step down as co-president. My immediate plans are to take the next few months off and explore some options. In the meantime, I want to express my deep gratitude to all my friends and colleagues throughout the independent film community for their artistry, inspiration and support.”

“Sean McManus has been an important and highly valued member of the team at Film Independent for 15 years, first as a transformative director of development and for the past 18 months as co-president with Josh Welsh,” said Sweeney.

“His skills, determination and signature enthusiasm have been instrumental in the tremendous growth of Film Independent during those years. We are deeply grateful to him for all his contributions, and he shall be missed. We know that he will move on to even greater accomplishments, and he has the continued full support of the Film Independent staff and board of directors.”

“Josh Welsh is an integral part of Film Independent,” added Sweeney. “Eighteen months ago, Welsh stepped into the leadership position of co-president and he has demonstrated to the board his outstanding vision and passion for the organisation. He is largely responsible for the creation of Film Independent’s Artist Development Program and has a deep understanding of the dreams and needs of independent artists. We have complete confidence in his ability to lead Film Independent to new and greater things.”

McManus added: “It’s been a privilege to be a part of Film Independent for the past 15 years. Over that time, I’ve seen the organisation grow from a small group of filmmakers to the nation’s leading champion for the independent film community, expanding the breadth of its programs and impact on culture.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented individuals nurturing independent voices, including my co-president for the last 18 months, Josh Welsh, and FIND’s prior chief, Dawn Hudson. The collective work of FIND’s extraordinary board and committed staff has been a true joy – one that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”

“It has been a true pleasure to work with Sean over the last 15 years, and especially to serve with him as the organisation’s co-president these last 18 months,” said Welsh. “I will greatly miss his intelligence, warmth, enthusiasm and incredible dedication. Along with the entire staff here, I wish him all the best in his new endeavours.”