BFI festivals director Tricia Tuttle is stepping down from the role after 10 years. This month’s edition of the London Film Festival will be her last in the post.
Tuttle has, for the last five years, led as director the BFI London Film Festival as well as BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival. She was previously deputy head of festivals from 2013 to 2017. She will remain in the role through to early 2023, while the BFI recruits for a new festivals leader.
Tuttle leaves the festival during what’s shaping up to be one of its strongest editions yet: the festival has more world premieres than ever this year, with headline films including Matthew Warchus’ “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” and Asif Kapadia’s “Creature.”
Meanwhile, last year’s “The Harder They Fall” world premiere boasted a rare appearance by Jay Z and Beyoncé. Other gala highlights in recent years have included Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and major European Premieres including Steve McQueen’s “Mangrove” and “Lovers’ Rock” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
Under Tuttle, the London Film Festival instituted a five-year strategy that has resulted in audiences growing by 76% since 2019. Around 39% of audiences came from outside London in 2021 compared to 10% in 2019. Major developments as part of Tuttle’s strategy include the expansion of the festival program to offer series television (LFF Series); immersive and XR work (LFF Expanded) alongside film; an enhanced industry program; and a major audience outreach program that includes free and U.K.-wide physical and digital programming via BFI Player.
BFI chief executive Ben Roberts said: “Tricia has been the driving force behind the BFI London Film Festival’s transformation over the last five years and it could not be more vital and important than right now. I want to thank her for her creative leadership in adapting the LFF and BFI Flare in the face of huge external challenges, creating genuine U.K.-wide access physically and digitally, putting us on the international stage and of course bringing audiences incredible film experiences.
“Most importantly Tricia is a super smart, generous and collaborative leader and colleague,” continued Roberts. “She leaves an incredible team behind her, and we will celebrate her success at her final festival this year.”
Tuttle added: “I have loved everything about my time at the BFI and as the director of our festivals. It’s been a deep and genuine privilege to lead BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, and to be a senior leader in an organization that has shaped me as a passionate film fan and a professional working in film.
“I took the role knowing that I believe in cultural renewal. I came in to make an impact quickly, with an aim to open up our festivals to more people and then pass the baton. And I could not be more proud of what we have achieved in these five years, especially given the absolutely wild challenges we have faced! I am leaving on a high and with so much love for the people and the work of the organization.”