June 23, 2024

Doug Jones, a veteran film programmer, curator and exhibitor at several U.S. film festivals, has died. He was 53.

Jones most recently worked as a consulting programmer for the South by Southwest Film and TV Festival, as well as a programmer for the Vidiots Foundation, a relaunched Los Angeles nonprofit video store and cinema.

The Vidiots Foundation confirmed his death in an Instagram post: “It breaks our hearts to share that we have lost the great and wonderful Doug Jones, a beloved and indispensable member of the Vidiots family and a cornerstone of the global film programming community.”

From 2014 to 2022, he served as executive director of Images Cinema, a single screen nonprofit art house, in Williamstown, Mass. He worked with the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent for 12 years beginning in 2002, specializing in finding new independent filmmakers and producing large-scale film events, and became associate director of programming in 2009.

Over the course of his career, his passion for film took him across the country — from working in the Twin Cities film scene under Al Milgrom at the U Film Society to serving in programming positions at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis and the Philadelphia Film Festival. He contributed to South by Southwest as a screener for over a decade. Jones was also a founding member for the nominations committee for the Cinema Eye Honors and served as artistic director for the genre-focused Overlook Film Festival.

Following his move to San Francisco the previous year, he joined the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1995, working his way up from print traffic coordinator to full-time associate programmer. Additionally, he programmed for the San Francisco Film Society and curated films for San Francisco’s Red Vic Movie House, Noise Pop Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival.

His film writing and dispatches from film festivals have appeared in publications such as IndieWire, Twitch Film and Film Comment.

Jones was born in Boulder, Colo., and raised in South Dakota and Minnesota, earning a film studies degree from Metropolitan State University. He worked at movie theaters in the midwest prior to his career in film programming.

Jones is preceded in death by his wife Paula Buxbaum and survived by his son William, mother Judy and sister Kathy, in addition to his extended family-in-law, friends and colleagues.

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