When David Filner was 6 years old, he begged his mother to sign him up for violin lessons after he learned that two neighborhood friends had started playing. As soon as Filner started lessons, the neighbor boys quit. But that didn’t matter—Filner was hooked. Music would soon become his life’s work, though he later switched his instrument to viola and then his focus to arts administration.
Filner, now 44, brought his passion for the arts to Artis—Naples in 2013 when he became the center’s first-ever vice president of artistic operations. This year he’s helping plan the Naples International Film Festival (Oct. 26-29), which merged with Artis—Naples in late 2016.
Why was the Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) a good fit for Artis—Naples?
From the Artis—Naples side, we have always enjoyed working with NIFF. We’ve been the host for the opening every year, which is one of the big events that’s part of the festival. But we actually do a lot of film activities ourselves. We looked at NIFF as an opportunity to really deepen that area of expertise for the organization. We’re a multidisciplinary institution, and film is just such a multidisciplinary art form—there’s music, there’s visuals, there’s acting. From the NIFF standpoint, what we understood from their leadership was that they were looking for opportunities to grow, and it was a good fit.
What can people expect from the festival this year?
For the most part, people are going to experience the NIFF that they have always experienced. We’re hopeful that people who go and see a lot of the movies and attend a lot of the events will notice a thematic connection with what Artis—Naples is doing. We have two thematic, overarching contexts this year: ‘Languages of Art’ and ‘Evolution/ Revolution.’ You’re not going to walk in and say, ‘Everything is different.’ It’s going to be, ‘Oh, this feels like it’s connected to Artis— Naples and is a part of Artis—Naples.’
What can you tell us about the Artis—Naples master plan?
It’s a conversation that we’re having about our 8.5-acre cultural campus here. We’ve been working with an architectural firm that’s been here a number of times to talk about the next 30 years of Artis—Naples and the campus specifically. The campus was built up over a number of years and we’re really excited about the opportunity to reimagine it as a unified 8.5 acres, rather than pieces that have come together over the years.