Tricia Tuttle will take over the BFI London Film Festival, and other BFI festivals, following Clare Stewart’s decision not to return after a sabbatical. Tuttle stepped in as artistic director for this year’s LFF, which came to a close Sunday with a world premiere screening of “Stan & Ollie.”
Tuttle’s new permanent role is as director of BFI festivals. Stewart had said at the end of 2017 that she planned to take a year out. Her next move, now that she is not returning to LFF and the BFI, is not clear.
Speaking at the closing night gala screening, BFI chief Amanda Nevill announced that Stewart had decided not to return and that Tuttle would fill her shoes. She paid tribute to Stewart, saying: “She is an absolute force of nature and we are going to miss her very much indeed.”
In a statement issued later, Nevill said Tuttle had done an excellent job this year. “I’m very excited to see where she takes the LFF in future years,” she said.
Tuttle stepped up from deputy head of festivals after Stewart’s sabbatical announcement. Anne-Marie Flynn became the festival’s interim managing director. Tuttle and Flynn also oversaw BFI Flare, the festival devoted to LGBT films.
Stewart, an Australian, broadened the scope of LFF beyond Central London theaters during her tenure, which spanned six editions of the festival. She also shortened it and added more headline galas. Nevill said she had “completely transformed the festival at home and internationally.” The festival is also increasingly becoming a stop for studios, filmmakers and actors hoping to score upcoming award nominations.
Tuttle oversaw a 2018 event notable for its representation of female filmmakers. Half of the films in the main competition were by women directors or co-directors, a figure that rose to 60% in the first film category. “Joy” won best film and “Girl” best debut feature.