Since 2009, she has been the Managing Director of Philadelphia QFest – the largest gay & lesbian film festival on the East Coast. In 2011, as the Industry & REEL Seminar Coordinator for the Miami International Film Festival, she worked on eight educational events including hands-on workshops, master-classes and seminars geared to students and professionals already working in the Industry. From 2008-2009 she was the Associate Artistic Director of two established international film festival’s, Philadelphia CineFest and Philadelphia QFest. Between 2001-2008 she worked for the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Under her leadership the MGLFF re-positioned itself as one of the key queer film festivals in the U.S.
In 2008 she received the Aqua Foundation/Aqua Girl “Founders Award” for her work in the LGBTQ community of South Florida, and was also, in the same year, formally recognized by the Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach. Between 1997-2001, Coombes was employed by the British Film Institute on their two flagship festivals – London Film Festival and London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. A native of Manchester, England, she holds a BA Hons in Anthropology & Media Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a postgraduate diploma in camera/lighting for film & television from the University of Leeds/Northern School of Film & Television.
She is also a Patron of the Iris Prize, Cardiff’s International Gay & Lesbian Short Film Prize a position she has held since 2010.