Former Film Victoria chief executive Sandra Sdraulig has been appointed chairman of the Adelaide Film Festival, replacing Cheryl Bart.

It marks an ongoing period of change for the event with inaugural director Katrina Sedgwick last month announcing her departure after a decade in charge.

Sdraulig was previously executive director of the Melbourne International Film festival and a board member of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the South Australian Art Gallery. During her leadership of Film Victoria, annual production increased from $90 million to over $260 million although her eight-year tenure ended in controversy when it was revealed that her send-off party cost $45,000.

In a statement, SA Arts minister Mike Rann said: "I could not think of anyone better than Sandra to fill this position given her background in film investment and in running a major film festival, and builds on her already strong connections to South Australia's arts community."

Sdraulig said she was honoured to join the festival's board.

“I am delighted and honoured to be steering an event and organisation that has not only been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences and the industry alike but that has so quickly and effectively developed an international reputation for delivering an innovative and bold festival and investment program," she said in a statement.

Rann – a major supporter of the local screen industries – this week handed over Labor's leadership to Jay Weatherill as the state celebrated the opening of its new $48 million Adelaide Studios.

He also paid tribute to Bart's contribution in making the festival a global standout. "The festival has come up to be one of the top 50 in the world, the first in the world to have it's own investment fund, with many of its films going on to international acclaim at Cannes, MOMA in New York and a swag of AFI awards," he said.

Bart will continue as chair of the South Australian Film Corporation.

The 2013 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival, which is currently searching for a new director, will take place from October 10-20, 2013.

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