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The Faces of Film: Benjamin Brennan Gunning
Development Director
Hometown
North East, Md.

Where do you live now?
Downtown

How old are you? 
29

How old do you act?
I've been an old man since the day I was born.

What do you really do?
I get to work with our partners to make sure the organization has the resources it needs to thrive. Ultimately I'm responsible for securing all donations: corporate sponsorships, foundation grants, government grants, individual contributions, and our membership program. I'm also responsible for fundraising events – such as our Opening Night Party's VIP event. In addition to directly soliciting gifts, I also manage our development committee's advocacy efforts on our behalf.

Last time you cried at a movie?
Iron Man. Kidding. Probably our December members’ only screening: Any Day Now.

What do you do when you’re not working in a darkened room?
Thankfully I get to work in the daylight! I volunteer (a lot!) – I’m on the alumni board of my alma mater; I'm on the board of a school in Colorado and have tried to be involved locally with a few nonprofits that I feel are doing really good work.

What was your favorite film from last year’s MFF?
The thing I love most about the festival is its ability to start a conversation – so I tend to gravitate toward films that focus on controversial issues. For example, MFF 2012 alums: Chasing Ice, a visually stunning documentary that looks at glacial melting; and How to Survive a Plague, a documentary that focused on the evolution of our society's understanding of AIDS.

What film or event are you most excited about for this year’s MFF?
I'm really looking forward to our Opening Night Party and VIP Event. I'm looking forward to seeing a full year's worth of planning come together!

What’s your favorite film of all time?
Our staff are serious cinephiles; I'm always getting new films that amaze me. But I'm a sucker for a classic whether it's a drama/love story like Casablanca or something that makes me laugh like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Who is your red-carpet doppelganger?
I'd like to think, James McAvoy, but probably more along the lines of Paul Giamatti.

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