Finally white smoke comes out at the Jerusalem Film Center (JFC). After many long months of deliberation, the board of directors has named its new head of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Israeli Film Archive and the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Weston will take charge of the JFC, created and lead until now by its founder Lia van Leer, on Jun 15 after leaving her current post as head of the international arm of the Feature Film Program at the Sundance Institute.
Originally from London, Weston was raised in the UK, Switzerland, France and Israel before moving to the US. She holds a BA from Georgetown University’s School of Languages and Linguistics and pursued post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and obtained an MA in French Literature at University College, London.
Before joining the Sundance Institute, Weston was head of creative development at Kevin Spacey’s production company Trigger Street Productions. She has also worked for the American Film Institute. Her career in the film industry began at Imagine Entertainment working on films such as A Beautiful Mind and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Torino Film Lab and the Jerusalem International Film Lab. Along with Michelle Satter, the founding director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, Weston will be honored with a 2012 Leadership Award from the Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles.
Duringher nine years at Sundance she was involved in expanding the Institute’s Feature Film Program to Labs in the Middle East, India, Israel and Turkey and initiated and developed several international partnerships actively supporting such projects as Red Road, Sweet Mud, Paradise Now, Lake Tahoe, My Brother The Devil, Amreeka and Porfirio, among so many others.
Weston initiated Sundance’s collaboration with Cinephil’s Philippa Kowarsky and the two main Israeli sources of feature film financing, the Israeli Film Fund and the Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts Cinema Project, in a screenwriters lab for select Israeli filmmakers, whose output includes such titles as Intimate Grammar, Sweet Mud, The Slut, Zion And His brother, Beautiful Valley and the upcoming Fill The Void.
“I am thrilled to be associated with this great team, especially Lia van Leer, and I am looking forward to expanding the vision she set in motion as founding director,” Weston said. “The vibrant Israeli film industry, and JFC’s interface with the most diversified constituency of any arts organsations in the country are just two of the attractions this legendary place holds for me.”
Weston enters the JFC at a particularly difficult moment, having tried for several years to find a suitable person to take over the responsibility for its multi-varied operations. Taking over her new job barely three weeks before the launch of the next Jerusalem Film Festival (Jul 5-14) will not make it any easier.
Once the festival is over, however, she will have to deal not only with budget problems but also with a plethora of new cinematheques and film festivals coming up all over the country, trying to compete both on programming level and on obtaining a larger slice of the overall financial support devoted to film activities in the country.