Sydney Film Fest names Leigh Small CEO

Former Sydney Dance Company exec to expand festival

SYDNEY – Performing arts specialist Leigh Small has been named chief executive officer of the Sydney Film Festival, chairman Chris Freeland said Monday.

Small, a former executive director of the Sydney Dance Company for 10 years will oversee the executive functions for the festival, while artistic director Clare Stewart will continue in her role.

"I am delighted to welcome Leigh Small as CEO of the Sydney Film Festival. Leigh brings tremendous experience in arts management, most recently with Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Opera House and particular expertise in sponsorship and administration," said Freeland.

Small has most recently worked with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the English National Ballet.

Small’s appointment comes nearly nine months after the resignation of then-CEO Mark Safarty. But she arrives with the festival on a firmer financial footing as the festival recently received a AUS$2.25 million ($2 million) three-year grant from the New South Wales government, with the remit to boost its profile and expand geographically.

The year’s edition of the festival will run June 2-14.