The Arkansas Motion Picture Institute (AMPI) founded in 2011, a statewide, nonprofit organization providing leadership in film education, while supporting growth and excellence in film, television and digital media, has named film executive and native Arkansan Courtney Pledger as its first executive director.

Pledger has served as a producer in both film and television. She currently has a pair of films in pre-production “BOO” at DreamWorks Animation, starring Seth Rogen, and Ricky Gervais’ “Flanimals” at Universal. Prior to her most recent position as senior vice president of Radical Pictures, Pledger served as executive producer for “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”, starring Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly.

In addition to managing the start-up of AMPI, Pledger’s immediate priority is serving as Interim Director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF) which returns for its 21st year October 12 -21, 2012. Susan Altrui, board chairman of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute (HSDFI) said that AMPI’s support of HSDFF is greatly needed and signals that AMPI is committed to the art of film. The HSDFI has suffered some hard times in the past few years and is in need of strong leadership to produce a top-notch festival in October. By providing Courtney Pledger as this year’s festival director, AMPI is helping to save one of the most important film events in the state of Arkansas,“ Altrui said.

Film producer Vince Insalaco will serve as AMPI’s chairman of the board. Insalaco says he is enthusiastic about having Pledger as executive director of AMPI and is proud that the organization is supporting the Hot Springs Documentary Festival. “Courtney Pledger is one of the most experienced Arkansans in the film industry. She will bring vision and leadership to AMPI,” said Insalaco.

Arkansas Film Commissioner, Christopher Crane, echoed Insalaco.

“The Arkansas Film Commission is excited about the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute naming Courtney Pledger as its first executive director. I am positive that the entire state will join me in embracing Courtney as the executive director and will welcome her enthusiastically as the interim director of this year’s Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Both AMPI and HSDFF will benefit greatly from Courtney’s leadership and professional experience in the film industry. We support this move wholeheartedly.”

‘Over the years we have premiered many of our films in Hot Springs, and the festival is highly respected as one of the top documentary festivals in the world,” say award-winning filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud. “ The Little Rock Film Festival, Hot Springs and the Ozark Foothills Film Festival are now unified under AMPI, because together we make Arkansas a force for film.’

The AMPI board of directors consists of a permanent member from each of the major film festivals in Arkansas – Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Little Rock Film Festival and Ozark Foothills Film Festival, Other members include Board Chairman Vince Insalaco, co-founder of the Argenta Community Theatre, Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane, Brian Bush of Stephens, Inc., attorney Jamie Fugitt of Williams & Anderson, Joel C. High of Creative Content, Franklin McLarty of The McLarty Companies, Gary Newton of the Arkansas Production Alliance, Steve Taylor of Southern Arkansas University Tech, and Judy Tenenbaum, co-founder of the Argenta Community Theatre. The Arkansas Motion Picture Institute offices will be located at the Argenta Community Theatre in North Little Rock.