×

Film Festival Vet Sheila Whitaker Dies in London

Film scholar headed international programs for Dubai

Sheila Whitaker, who served as director of international programs for the Dubai International Film Festival, died Monday in London.

She was previously director of the London Film Festival from 1987 to 1996, and head of programming at the National Film Theater in London from 1984 to 1990.

Whitaker had been working with the Dubai festival since the fest’s beginning in 2004.

“She dedicated her life to understanding the emerging cinema…From the Arab world, Iran, and Latin America. She engaged with the people of those regions, with their culture and true nature,” wrote the artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali on the Dubai fest’s website.

A lifetime lover of film, she headed the British National Film Archive collection of stills and posters and co-edited “Life and Art: The New Iranian Cinema” and “An Argentine Passion: The Films of Maria Luisa Bemberg.” She served on festival juries from Venice to Syria and was also founding editor of “Writing Women,” a journal of women’s writing. In addition, she wrote obituaries of entertainment figures for the Guardian newspaper.

She was awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Newcastle and an Honorary Doctorate of Law by the University of Warwick.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Great Outdoor documentary series about

    Farm to Picture: Documentary Series 'The Great Outdoor' Chronicles a Life Gone to Pot

    Cannabis cultivation in the Emerald Triangle, the area in Northern California that has long been a go-to for growers, has a starring role in a new documentary series called “The Great Outdoor.” Funded by Flow Kana, one of the state’s leading cannabis flower brands, filmed by David Zlutnick, and executive-produced by Flow Kana co-founder Flavia [...]

  • 1982 El Gouna Festival

    Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival Puts Arab Helmers at Center Stage

    The upbeat state of Arab cinema will be on the screen and in the balmy air at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (Sept. 19-27), which is steadily gaining traction in its stated ambition to become a key platform and solid driver for Middle-East producers. “This year was one the best for Arab cinema,” says Intishal [...]

  • Star Skipper Paramount Animation

    Meet Star Skipper, Paramount Animation's Magical New Trademark Logo Character

    Studio logos are powerful signals to audiences.  Multiple generations of moviegoers flipping through channels or scanning streaming titles have frozen at the sight of a desk lamp hopping across the screen, because it means a Pixar movie is about to play. Likewise, when a young boy lounging inside a crescent moon casts his fishing line into [...]

  • Sybil

    Cannes Competition Movie 'Sibyl' Finds North American Home With Music Box (EXCLUSIVE)

    Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Justine Triet’s darkly comic drama “Sibyl,” which competed at Cannes and had its North American premiere at Toronto in the Special Presentation section. Represented in international markets by mk2, the film follows the ambiguous relationship between Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist (Virginie Efira, “An Impossible [...]

  • Kent Jones Directs 'Diane'

    Kent Jones to Exit New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a surprise move, New York Film Festival’s director and selection committee chair of seven years Kent Jones will step down following this year’s 57th edition, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. The departure comes as Jones’ feature filmmaking career is taking off. Issues of potential conflicts of interest have arisen as his work has moved [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content