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Christy Matheson Named New Head of BFI London Film Festival – The Hollywood Reporter


The BFI London Film Festival has a new Chairman.

After what it describes as an “exhaustive interview process”, the British Film Institute has appointed Christy Matheson as its Festivals Director, a role that sees her helm the UK’s largest film festival (scheduled for October 4-15), the BFI Illuminated: London LGBTQIA Festival. + Film Festival of the 2024 edition. Matheson joined BFI from her most recent role as Creative Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and prior to that was Director of Film at the Australian National Museum of Screen Culture ACMI.

Matheson replaces Tricia Tuttle, who announced she was stepping down as director of festivals ahead of the 2023 London Film Festival kicking off last October. Tuttle has been in this position for five years (and has spent 10 working for the BFI).

“Festivals provide filmmakers, artists and audiences with a moment to connect on a large scale – to experiment with ideas, ask the big questions, and celebrate together,” Matheson said.

“The BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare represent the best in this ethos, exploring the depths of British and world cinema, nurturing new talent, distilling our screen industries and connecting audiences with innovations in the motion picture. I am honored and delighted to join this team, and to work alongside colleagues who are leaders in their fields and who bring a passion for connecting audiences to the full scope of screen culture.”

Matheson – who was a member of the LFF’s Sutherland Prize jury in 2022 – will lead festival teams across programming, commercial operations and adjoining teams across BFI including fundraising, digital, marketing and communications, finance and industry, to deliver the overall festivals program – in London, across the UK and across Internet. She will report to Jason Wood and start her new role in April.

News of Matheson’s appointment came at the same time it was announced that the Edinburgh Film Festival, which “halved circulation” last year as its parent charity was going into administration, was set to return in a one-off special edition as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2023 program will be led by the film festival’s new program director Kate Taylor, who worked with Matheson to research and develop plans for this year’s release.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.