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BFI appoints Clare Stewart as head of exhibition

The Australian veteran will lead exhibition including London Film Festival and cinemas.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has appointed Clare Stewart as head of exhibition, a newly created post.

Stewart, who recently stepped down from the Sydney Film Festival, will report to Heather Stewart, Creative Director BFI. She takes the job in late August.

In this new position, Stewart will be responsible for all of the BFI’s film exhibition activity, overseeing performance of the BFI Southbank, BFI Imax and BFI Festivals (including the BFI London Film Festival). The cinemas exhibition had been overseen by Eddie Berg, while Sandra Hebron had overseen the LFF side.

This news follows the announcement last week that Hebron will step down as artistic director of the BFI London Film Festival (that job will now be overseen by Stewart). Hebron continues her role through the end of October 2011, and she continues to lead the 55th festival.

Most recently, Stewart had been festival director of the Sydney Film Festival for five years. At that festival, she introduced an official competition and built box-office takings to new highs. Prior to that, she was the inaugural head of film programs at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, based in Melbourne. She also worked at the Australian Film Institute, including a post as Exhibition Manager, and programmer and Committee Member of the Melbourne Cinémathèque.Clare is co-editor, with Philippa Hawker, of the publication Leslie Cheung and the establishing editor of Cteq, a film criticism journal that is now published as part of online journal Senses of Cinema. She has also been a radio host and lecturer.

Clare 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 future strategy for the flagship BFI Southbank venues and leading film festivals. This new position provides the opportunity to align the expertise of BFI’s team of programmers and producers with the objective of further enhancing the cultural and business impact of the BFI’s diverse 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. I’m confident that Clare can meet the challenges ahead with flair and imagination. Clare has an impressive track record, most recently leading the Sydney Film Festival from strength to strength, and proven that she has both the creative and commercial expertise this role needs.”

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