Women of Influence: Linda Broker

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Linda Broker has been previewing films for the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival more than 20 years. In that time, she recalled a few films that changed her way of doing things.

“A film called ‘Bag It’ stands out,” she said. “It was about the single-use plastic bags at the grocery store. It was dismaying; I’ve never used plastic bags since. And I have a very justifiable anger about people who do. I became the worst sort of convert. But it’s those films, the ones that have an immediate call to action, that I remember most.”

“Bag It” stood out because it presented a reachable goal — no more plastic bags. Other films have just as strong a call to action, but can leave people feeling helpless, she said.

“There was one about rape in The Congo,” she said. “It’s a horrible problem; really, there’s so little one person can do. It needs to be discussed, brought to light, but it’s hard to immediately change things. It just is going to take a lot of time and conversation.”

Broker gets to preview films in her role as executive director of the film festival, the longest-running film festival in North America. The festival celebrates the spirit and determination of women, she said.

“To get your foot in the door, the film needs to have a woman in a lead creation role — producing, directing, editing,” she said. “We’ll take films by men, as long as they meet our mission.”

Broker’s leadership has increased attendance at the festival, and she recently created two new events: a filmmakers summit and a “wheel to reel” bike ride that also includes a film screening. Those activities have earned her praise from people around Colorado Springs.

“Our city is a richer place, our economy stronger and our knowledge of the world heightened because of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival and the investments of Linda Broker,” said Stacy Poore, chief development officer for Care and Share Food Bank, who nominated Broker for the award.

Poore says Broker’s “can-do attitude” is the first thing people notice about her.

“Whether she’s engaging a filmmaker, a festival guest or a venue technician, Linda wants to create a quality experience for anyone associated with the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival,” Poore said. “She is masterful in her coordination of volunteers and in building relationships with people far and wide.”

— Amy Gillentine