Kristy Matheson has been appointed festivals director at the British Film Institute (BFI), through which she will lead the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) and BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival.
Starting her role in April, Matheson will lead the festival teams across programming, business operation and adjacent teams across the BFI including fundraising, digital, marketing, communications, finance and industry. She will report into Jason Wood, BFI executive director of programming and audiences.
LFF 2023 will run from October 4 to 15, the BFI has confirmed.
Australian Matheson was recently creative director at Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), the Scottish event which closed following the demise of the Centre for the Moving Image. She had moved to Edinburgh in September 2021 to take on the new position. In 2022, she served on the jury for the LFF Sutherland award for best first feature, which went to Manuela Marteli’s 1976.
She was previously director of film at Australia’s national museum of screen culture (ACMI); and worked at Brisbane International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and Dendy Films.
Matheson was leading an appraisal into running an edition of EIFF this year, after Screen Scotland purchased rights to the festival in December. EIFF has today confirmed that it will run a one-off edition this summer.
Matheson takes over the role from Tricia Tuttle, the departing director of festivals, who is now acting head of department, directing fiction at the NFTS. Tuttle had taken on the BFI festivals role in 2018, having been interim festival director for a year and deputy head of festivals for five years.
“Festivals provide filmmakers, artists and audiences with a moment to commune on a grand scale – to experience ideas, ask big questions and celebrate together,” said Matheson.
“The BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare represent the very best of this spirit, exploring the depth of UK and global cinema, nurturing new talents, profiling our screen industries and connecting audiences to innovations in the moving image.
“I’m honoured and excited to be joining this team, to work alongside colleagues who are leaders in their fields and bring a passion for connecting audiences to the full breadth of screen culture.”
“I am delighted to welcome Kristy as the BFI’s new director of festivals,” said Wood. “I have been impressed by Kristy’s knowledge and passion for screen culture and the role it plays in connecting society.
“EIFF 2022 was an incredible success and Kristy delivered a festival broad in outlook and richly inclusive. Her vision for a wider and more sustainable festival ecology absolutely chimes with the strategic direction of the BFI and how we want our Festivals to be led – in a way that values and encourages collaboration and a democratic approach to decision making in tandem with a clear and holistic artistic vision.”
The festival director job was advertised earlier this year at a salary of £85,000, on a three-year fixed term contract with the potential to extend for a further one to two years. Applications closed on January 16, with two rounds of interviews running in February.