Tony Grierson is to leave his roleas head of distribution and finance at the NSW Film & Television Office andjoin the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) as chiefexecutive from February 16.

He was executive officer of Queer Screen for the four yearsup to 1999, has worked at Beyond Distribution, and has held a number ofconsultancy roles in film, technology and corporate finance.

"I am keen to build on the festival's traditional strengthsin quality film and factual programming, and broaden the programme's appealwith new technologies and screen content," Griersonsaid. "One of my immediate primary objectives is to strengthen theorganisation's resources and revenue base. It is an exciting time to beinvolved in screen culture. Rapidly changing technologies together with thegrowth in delivery platforms mean that film festivals face multiple challengesto remain vital and relevant."

The 53rd SFF runs fromJune 9 to 25 and will be Lynden Barber's second as artistic director. Therecently elected president is Jacqui Feeney, chief executive officer of thecompany that owns pay TV channel World Movies.

All three key Australian east coast film festivals have nowset deadlines for producers wanting their films to be considered for inclusion.The Sydney deadline is February 17.Entries must be in by March 17 for the international short film competition,held as part of the 55th Melbourne International Film Festival (July 26 toAugust 13), and features and documentary applications must be made by April 21.The 15th Brisbane International Film Festival (July 26 to August 7) deadline isApril 28.

This year will be the last Melbournefilm feast with James Hewison as executive director.A successor has yet to be named.