Connect with us


Rotterdam Film Festival Appoints New Managing Director



Clare Stewart, former director of BFI London Film Festival and recently CEO at Sheffield DocFest, is going Dutch, taking over the job of managing director at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).

Stewart will take over from Marjan van der Haar, who is exiting the post, and start on June 21 ahead of the 54th IFFR in January next year. She joins festival director Vanja Kaludjercic in Rotterdam’s dual leadership structure, with Stewart overseeing the commercial elements of the festival and Kaludjercic the creative and programming components. Stewart was a consultant for the IFFR board of directors in 2021, where she helped the festival reshape its programming structure and content strategy.

“I am excited to be welcoming Clare to the IFFR team and to Rotterdam as she makes this incredible city her new home,” said Kaludjercic. “She brings a deep understanding of the artistic and commercial sides of a festival from her formidable career to date, which is perfectly suited to the dual leadership dynamic we have between our two roles. Her passion for IFFR is undeniable, and the team and I look forward to working together with her on the upcoming 2024 edition and beyond!”

Korrie Louwes, chairperson of the IFFR supervisory board, said Stewart had an “unparalleled breadth of experience in strategically directing, and truly championing festivals, with a track record including some of the foremost celebrations of cinema in the world. In previous roles Clare has channeled her unique combination of creative understanding and business acumen to growing audiences, accelerating commercial success and raising the profile of those events — as well as steering them through change. It’s a great coup to have her join the IFFR team and bring her multifaceted and insightful leadership to our organization.”

Stewart said she had deep roots with IFFR, as the “first international film festival I attended 25 years ago. It shaped my understanding of the interdependencies between cultural activity and industry development and the importance of engaging a dedicated local audience while positioning a festival as vital for the international, independent film sector.” She praised the Rotterdam festival for its continued emphasis on “bold new ideas” and said Kaludjercic, who was appointed festival head in 2020 with a mandate to revamp the IFFR, had an “inspiring vision for building a festival that is both agenda-setting and Responsive to change. I am excited to work with the talented IFFR team, the supervisory board and IFFR’s committed partners and stakeholders to forge a bright future for one of the Netherlands’ true cultural assets.”

The Australian-born Stewart was the festival director of the Sydney Film Festival from 2007 to 2011 and is credited with raising the event’s international profile. She took over the running of the BFI London Film Festival in 2011 and ran it and the BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival through 2017, boosting audiences and elevating the events’ international position. At the BFI, she was praised for her support of emerging talent and her action on promoting diversity and inclusion with such events as the Gender in Media and Black Star symposiums, the Flare LGBTQ mentorship and the accessibility think tank.

Stewart’s first IFFR as managing director will be the 54th festival, which will take place from Jan. 25 to Feb. 4, 2024.

Check the latest Hollywood news here.