Leading UK documentary event Sheffield Doc/Fest has named former London and Sydney film festival director Clare Stewart as interim CEO. Stewart will steer the fest through its 2022 edition, which will run June 23-28.

In addition, Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia has been named guest curator for next year, the first time the fest has employed someone in this role. Kapadia will personally select some sections of the screenings programme and work with the team on events, talks and other initiatives.

The Sheffield festival has faced a rocky ride over the past year. Previous director Cintia Gil stepped down in August, citing “artistic differences” with the board. Later that month, a group of programmers from the fest published an open letter complaining to the org that they were unceremoniously released from their contracts after this year’s edition, with the fest apologizing in response.

“Clare’s track-record inspiring and delivering change in the international film festival arena is exemplary and we are confident she will make a positive impact on the Festival’s future as well as continue to support our commitment to nurturing local talent. Asif is one of the world’s great filmmakers and documentary voices and he returns to Sheffield DocFest after opening the 2019 festival with Diego Maradona,” said Doc/Fet chair Alex Cooke.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the legacy of past leadership and to work with the Board of Trustees and the dedicated Sheffield DocFest team at a time when the landscape for festivals, documentary makers and audiences is shifting so radically,” added Stewart.

“While the Festival will continue its vital role providing an annual showcase of outstanding documentary work, I am excited to be making a curatorial contribution to the programme, sharing films and bringing filmmakers I love to the event, while working with Clare and the DocFest team on the overall shape of the festival,” added Kapadia.

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