As Hebron Departs, BFI Unveils New Exhibition Chief

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The BFI has appointed Clare Stewart to the newly created role of Head of Exhibition. From late August 2011, Stewart will be responsible for the cultural and commercial performance of BFI Southbank, BFI Festivals and BFI IMAX. She will lead the delivery of “a dynamic programme of British and international cinema designed to attract the broadest and most diverse audience,” said the BFI.

Stewart joins the BFI from her position as Festival Director of Sydney Film Festival, a role she held for five years. She is credited with building the reputation of the festival’s Official Competition, increasing audiences and box-office takings, attracting funding and sponsorship deals and creating new strands. In addition, says the BFI, she brings venue experience to the task having served as Head of Film Programs at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Commenting, Stewart said: "I am thrilled to be joining the BFI at this significant moment in the organisation's history and to be working with Creative Director Heather Stewart to forge the strategy for the flagship BFI Southbank venue and leading film festivals. This position provides the opportunity to align the expertise of the BFI’s team of programmers and producers with the objective of further enhancing the cultural and business impact of the BFI's screening programmes."
Heather Stewart added: "This new role is a great opportunity for the BFI to bring together our exhibition activities and think about how we reach audiences for both historical and contemporary filmmaking in our festivals and all year round. Clare has an impressive track record, most recently leading the Sydney Film Festival from strength to strength, and has proven that she has both the expertise this role needs."

Stewart’s appointment follows last week’s news that Sandra Hebron is to step down as Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival after the latest edition (October 12-27).