The long-time Space Needle executive starts in her new role on Feb 1 and will lead the organisation in tandem with artistic director Carl Spence.

Person served as SIFF managing director since 2005 and will remain on staff through the transition period until the end of the year.

Prior to the Space Needle, Bacarella worked in public relations, handling accounts such as Nintendo, Radio Disney and Wolfgang Puck.

“Mary is the perfect choice to build on SIFF’s significant accomplishments and lead the organisation going forward,” said Michelle Quisenberry, SIFF board president. “Mary has been involved with SIFF for 15 years and has a deep passion for the organisation, she is a recognised community leader, savvy business executive, and understands SIFF’s vision for the future.”

“SIFF is very fortunate to have found such an extraordinary leader to join the organisation,” said Spence. “Mary Bacarella is an ideal match to work in tandem with, and to ensure the continued vitality and success of SIFF. I look forward collaborating with her to build on our recent accomplishments and strategic initiatives.”

“This is an amazing time to be joining SIFF,” said Bacarella. “The solid foundation of this organisation coupled with all of its great initiatives that have been launched in the last few years, such as the SIFF Uptown Cinema and the new SIFF Film Center make this the time to secure larger sponsorships, increase national and worldwide awareness, evolve the existing opportunities and seek out new growth prospects.”