Alice Cabañas has been appointed the new head of the BFI Network.

She will lead the network’s U.K.-wide talent development programme, overseeing management, funding, digital platforms and professional development programmes.

Cabañas is joining as the BFI is developing a 10-year funding strategy in consultation with the industry and the public which will explore how best to use its funding to support new creatives in the screen sector. The strategy is set to be announced in Sept. 2022 and will run from April 2023.

Cabañas takes over from interim head of BFI Network James Weddup, who will return to his role as senior manager overseeing operations, partners and projects.

Cabañas was previously BFI Network’s talent executive in the South West and before that worked at the British Council as a film programme manager and was a co-director at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.

She will continue to be based in Bristol, reporting to Mia Bays, the BFI’s director of Film Fund.

Cabañas’s new role will see her work closely with BFI’s Network talent executives, Film Fund and industry partners including BAFTA, BIFA, the British Council and the Doc Society.

BFI Network, which is supported by National Lottery funding, aims to support writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers providing everything from editorial support and professional guidance to funding. Crucially, the network is spread across the U.K.’s regions and nations. Network’s alumni include Prano Bailey-Bond (“Censor”).

“I am thrilled Alice will be moving into a central role in the Network team, and at such a pivotal moment,” says Bays. “As we are starting to set out how we can best use National Lottery funding from 2023 to discover and nurture future talent in the vital and formative initial stages, we will hugely benefit from Alice’s experience and insight. She also brings a wealth of firsthand knowledge of engaging and working with grassroots talent outside of London and knows where the potential lies.”

Cabañas said: “I feel passionately about supporting new filmmaking talent, and improving access to funding and development opportunities for emerging filmmakers throughout the UK. During the last four years as a talent executive in the South West I’ve helped regional filmmakers develop their creative practice and take their next steps, and it’s been hugely fulfilling to work with some of the most exciting new voices coming out of the region. I can’t wait to continue this work on a national level with our partners. This feels like an exciting time to join BFI Network – on the cusp of a new strategy and working with new head of Film Fund, Mia Bays. I’m looking forward to getting started, and helping to develop the new U.K.-wide strategy for new talent as we move towards 2023 and beyond.”

The next funding round for BFI Network-supported shorts and early development in England opens on March 14.

Watershed is currently recruiting for a new talent executive for the South West to take over Cabañas’s former role.