The roles of artistic director of the LFF and artistic director of the BFI Southbank are to be merged, but Hebron has taken the decision not to apply for the combined role.

Sandra Hebron is to step down from her role as artistic director of the London Film Festival following the 2011 edition in October.

One of the most highly regarded festival directors in the industry, Hebron has worked on the BFI London Film Festival and the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival for 14 years during which time she has built up the festival’s reputation and increased audience attendances year on year.

Under the new BFI creative director of public programming Heather Stewart, the roles of artistic director BFI Southbank (currently held by Eddie Berg) and Hebron’s role of artistic director of the London Film Festival are to be merged.

But Hebron chose not to put herself forward for the combined role.  

Hebron said that heading up the BFI’s festival team had been a “hugely privileged and pleasurable role. I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved, and indebted to the many filmmakers and industry professionals who have helped us develop and raise the profile of the BFI London Film Festival.”

Amanda Nevill, chief executive, BFI added: ‘Sandra is one of the most respected, creative and imaginative film festival directors in the world. She has transformed the BFI London Film Festival into the most exciting two weeks for film in the UK’s cultural calendar and her departure is a great loss to the BFI.” 

The 55th London Film Festival will take place from October 12 – 27.