The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has appointed James Hewison as executive director. He was formerly marketing manager (Victoria) for public broadcaster the ABC.

Since 1993, when he returned from living in Paris for five years, Hewison has worked for Palace Cinemas, played a key role in re-establishing the French Film Festival and twice been a judge at the St Kilda Film Festival for short films.

MIFF chair Andrew Myer, a film producer himself, said Hewison will bring an enviable mix of programming skills, management experience and marketing and media savvy to the festival. His contract is for three years.

Hewison replaces Sandra Sdraulig who resigned just before the most recent festival, which is staged each year in July. The festival celebrates its 50th birthday next year.