British Film Institute (BFI) creative director Heather Stewart is stepping down after a career spanning 30 years to take on an advisory position.
From September, Stewart will take up the role of BFI director emeritus where she will serve as an ambassador and advisor to the BFI, with a focus on strategic archive development and worldwide fundraising and philanthropic engagement. She will continue to contribute to the org’s cultural program as a guest curator, speaker and writer.
A popular media figure, Stewart’s contribution over the years has been hailed by the great and the good of the industry.
Martin Scorsese said: “Heather has worked tirelessly to ensure the long term safety of the world class film collection held by the BFI National Archive. Through the outstanding preservation and restoration program of the BFI, audiences across the world have the chance to rediscover and enjoy British film. We wish Heather well in the next phase.”
Over the last 10 years as creative director, Stewart was been responsible for the strategic and creative leadership of the BFI’s cultural programs, placing the collections of the BFI National Archive at their center. She was also instrumental in the growth of the BFI London Film Festival and VOD service BFI Player.
“Heather has made an amazing contribution to film culture in the U.K., developing the BFI National Archive, the public program at the National Film Theatre, in festivals, and online, and Sight & Sound. All are world class,” said Steve McQueen. “Her sincere belief in public service, and making sure that everyone has a chance to engage with great film, has meant that literally millions of ordinary people across the U.K. have been able to enjoy their film history, and history as lived through film.”
Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas added: “Heather’s incredible knowledge and love for film culture will be missed enormously. Her advocacy and hard work has meant that audiences today can enjoy real film, on the big screen, all around the world. It’s been a privilege to support Heather’s outstanding commitment to the art of film. We look forward to seeing what she does next.”
“I have learnt an incalculable amount from Heather and I’m delighted that she will continue to support and advocate for the BFI in a role which recognizes her long contribution,” said BFI chief executive Ben Roberts.
Heather Stewart said, “I love the BFI, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. I inherited an incredible legacy to build on, and hope my successors will feel the same. All I ever want is for people to be able to expand their horizons by seeing great films.”