The British Film Institute (BFI) has appointed Kristy Matheson as BFI Festivals director, leading the UK’s largest film festival the BFI London Film Festival (4–15 October), and BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival from the 2024 edition.

Matheson joins the BFI from her recent role as creative director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and was previously director of film at Australia’s national museum of screen culture ACMI.

3. LFF.Kristy Matheson

Kristy Matheson, BFI Festivals director

Matheson will lead the Festival teams across programming, business operation and adjacent teams across the BFI including fundraising, digital, marketing, communications, finance and industry, to deliver the Festivals’ public programme – in London, across the UK and online.

She will report into Jason Wood, BFI executive director of programming and audiences following an interview process, which included internal and external panellists.

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Film Festival will be led by newly appointed programme director Kate Taylor, who had been working with Matheson.

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Jason Wood, BFI executive director of public programme & audiences said: “I am delighted to welcome Kristy as the BFI’s new director of festivals. 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.”

Matheson said: “Festivals provide filmmakers, artists and audiences with a moment to commune on a grand scale - to experience ideas, ask big questions and celebrate together.

“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.”

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