Rachel Rosen is leaving her post as director of programming at Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival and returning to the San Francisco Film Society as director of programming.

Effective immediately, Rosen replaces Linda Blackaby, who after eight years at SFFS is taking a sabbatical to consider her next move. Rosen was previously associate director of programming at SFFS, where she had been a film and video programmer since 1994.

SFFS executive director Graham Leggat hailed Rosen’s “intelligence, flair for innovation and keen eye for exciting new work”, adding: “We’re thrilled to welcome Rachel back to a leadership role in the organisation after her extraordinarily successful tenure in Los Angeles.”

During her eight-year tenure at Film Independent, attendance at the Los Angeles Film Festival is reported to have climbed from 35,000 to more than 80,000. Among her innovations were an international sidebar that examined independent films from Argentina and China, and silent film screenings with live music from contemporary musicians

“Rachel’s discerning eye, dazzling knowledge of film and support of independent filmmakers have been essential to the Festival’s success during her years at Film Independent,” Film Independent’s executive director Dawn Hudson said.  “I so appreciate Rachel’s extraordinary talents and her unstinting commitment to the organisation, and we wish her the best as she enters this new phase in her career.”

“I think what Graham and the Film Society team have accomplished in the past few years with both the San Francisco International Film Festival and year-round programming is incredibly exciting,” said Rosen, who began her career in New York as a publicist.

Leggat had kind words too for Blackaby, whom he called “one of the most respected film programmers on the international scene.”