Fortissimo Filmsco-founder Helen Loveridge has been named executive director at the SeattleInternational Film Festival (SIFF) and will begin her tenure at theevent's 30th anniversary, which runs from May 20-Jun 13 2004.

The position wasleft open when the festival's founding director Darryl Macdonald moved toPalm Springs Film Festival to become executive director.

'I'mlooking forward to making our 30th anniversary a remarkable celebration of allthat SIFF is and has been,' Loveridge said in a statement.

'I'm alsolooking forward to the future and all the intoxicating possibilities for thisfestival. It has long been a noted feature of the international festivalcalendar and it will be an honour to work with the excellent, creative team Ihave inherited to help guide SIFF towards the apex of festivals circuit, whereit belongs.'

Loveridge servedas SIFF managing director for the past two years and prior to that spent morethan 16 years in international sales and film acquisitions. She was theco-founder of Fortissimo Films and worked for 18 months with the German- andSwiss-based sales company Orfeo.

'We'vecome a long way in our first 30 years. Now is the perfect time for someone withHelen's skills, knowledge and experience to lead Cinema Seattle as we begin ournext 30,' SIFF board president Mary Metastasio said in a statement.

'We hatedto lose Darryl,' Metastasio added. 'When he founded the SeattleInternational Film Festival along with Dan Ireland, they created somethingspecial - a celebration of film and a great community event.

'AlthoughDarryl has gone off to Palm Springs, we're not letting him get away from usaltogether. He's our founding director, he serves on our board, and he's stilla part of Cinema Seattle even though he's not around on a day-to-daybasis.'

Carl Spence isalso returning to SIFF as director of programming following a two-year stint atthe San Francisco Film Festival.