Tribeca artistic director steps down

Peter Scarlet was with the festival for seven years

The film festival world saw its second high-profile exit in as many weeks Friday as Tribeca Film Festival artistic director Peter Scarlet announced he was resigning his post just two months ahead of this year's event.

The news also comes just one week after Sundance Film Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore left his longtime position to take the role of chief creative officer with Tribeca Enterprises, the company that runs the festival.

Reps for Tribeca said Friday the two events were entirely coincidental, and Scarlet noted in a statement that he was simply ready for new challenges.

Still, for some in the hothouse world of film festivals, the timing of the Scarlet move -- coming both on the heels of the Gilmore hire and just before the March 9 unveiling of this year's slate -- couldn't be entirely dismissed.

"Even if they're not directly related, both these moves seem to be symptoms of a larger executive change going on at Tribeca," one specialty exec said.

Tribeca will now turn to David Kwok, a longtime exec who serves as director of programming, and Genna Terranova, the indie world veteran who joined last year as senior programmer, to handle all programming responsibilities. The festival is not expected to hire a replacement for Scarlet.

For his part, Gilmore will not serve in any programming capacity, at least this year, focusing entirely on strategic initiatives. Both he and festival leaders have said that his role in future fests is still taking shape.

Scarlet had been with Tribeca since its inception in 2002, serving as executive director and then, most recently as artistic director, where he oversaw many of the programming choices. He was one of the festival's public faces, introducing filmmakers ahead of screenings much in the manner of Gilmore at Sundance.

As for Gilmore's former post, Sundance is expected to begin the process of hiring a replacement shortly. Many in the indie world are waiting to see if the fest will promote John Cooper, the longtime number two, or make an outside hire.

Steven Zeitchik reported from Los Angeles. Georg Szalai reported from New York.