Rebecca Yeldham has been unveiled as the new director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Film Independent announced today [March 12].

Yeldham acknowledged 'trying times' in the festival sector and said she looked forward to bringing her global perspective to bear on a festival that was 'uniquely positioned' to embrace the city's sprawling demographic diversity.

Yeldham, an experienced producer, acquisitions executive and festival programmer, fills the slot vacated by Rich Raddon's departure last November following the firestorm over his $1,500 donation to the Proposition 8 campaign banning same-sex marriages in California.

Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival's director of programming Rachel Rosen and Film Independent's senior director Sean McManus had served as co-directors during the interregnum.

'These are trying times but I've been encouraged by the strength of support for this festival both from the sponsors and the community here,' Yeldham, who relinquishes her seat on Film Independent's executive board, said.

'I've always had a global perspective for cinema and that's what I tried to do at Sundance and it's very important for me at this festival, which is uniquely positioned given the demographics within the city. Rachel Rosen has the same passion and agenda to bring an international perspective to the festival.'

Yeldham served as senior programmer at Sundance from 1997-2001 as well as associate director of the Sundance Institute's international programmes, supporting emerging directors like Marc Forster, Darren Aronofsky and Walter Salles.

She produced Forster's The Kite Runner and Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries and Linha De Passe and will continue her film-making activities. Yeldham is producing Salles' Jack Kerouac adaptation On The Road and the documentary companion piece Searching For On The Road and said On The Road had been postponed due to budget constrictions, however it was being lined up to shoot later in the year.

Yeldham also served as senior vice president of production at FilmFour, where she headed up the US production wing. On the acquisitions front she was Fox/Lorber and Associates' director of acquisitions and business affairs from 1990-94.

Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson called Yeldham a 'respected film-maker with beautiful taste' who would be 'a film-maker's festival director and great advocate of this city.'

Hudson said the search to replace Raddon has been difficult as there were so many qualified candidates. 'The hard part was narrowing down the list but we're delighted with our choice.'

She added that while the recession called for prudence, no sponsors had pulled out and there were no plans to cut jobs or narrow the line-up for the 14th annual festival, which will run in Westwood Village from June 18-28.

The Los Angeles Times returns as presenting sponsor and Premier sponsor Target and Netflix will remain in place. Kodak and IFC return as principal sponsors and Zone Perfect is a new addition to the principal sponsor pool.