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Kristy Matheson Named Head of BFI London Film Festival



The BFI London Film Festival has a new head.

Following what it described as an “exhaustive interview process,” the British Film Institute has named Kristy Matheson its festivals director, a role that sees her lead the UK’s largest film festival (set to take place Oct. 4-15), and the BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival from the 2024 edition. Matheson joins the BFI from her recent role as creative director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and previous to that was director of film at Australia’s national museum of screen culture ACMI.

Matheson replaces Tricia Tuttle, who announced that she was stepping down as festival director just ahead of the London Film Festival’s 2023 edition last October. Tuttle had been in the role for five years (and spent 10 working at the BFI).

“Festivals provide filmmakers, artists and audiences with a moment to commune on a grand scale – to experience ideas, ask big questions and celebrate together,” said Matheson.

“The BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare represent the very best of this spirit, exploring the depth of UK and global cinema, nurturing new talents, profiling our screen industries and connecting audiences to innovations in the moving image. I’m honored and excited to be joining this team, to work alongside colleagues who are leaders in their fields and bring a passion for connecting audiences to the full breadth of screen culture.”

Matheson — who was on the LFF’s Sutherland Award jury in 2022 — will lead the festival teams across programming, business operation and adjacent teams across the BFI including fundraising, digital, marketing, communications, finance and industry, to deliver the festivals’ public programme. in London, across the UK and online. She will report into Jason Wood and start her new role in April.

The news of Matheson’s appointment came at the same time it was announced that the Edinburgh Film Festival, which last year “ceased trading” as its parent charity was entering administration, was to return for a one-off special edition as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2023 program will be led by the film festival’s new program director Kate Taylor, who worked with Matheson to research and develop plans for this year’s edition.

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