Katrina Sedgwick to leave BigPond Adelaide Film Festival

Long-serving Adelaide Film Festival director Katrina Sedgwick will leave the event to pursue other opportunities at the end of the year.

Sedgwick said she plans to pursue other opportunities in the arts, as well film, after almost a decade leading the biennial festival.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to have been able to develop and deliver my own fairly idiosyncratic version of a film festival over the past decade," Sedgwick said in a statement.

"The festival’s investment fund has been quite extraordinary, allowing us to support and work closely with some of the finest filmmakers and artists in this country and it’s been so great to see so much of the work go on to significant success in Australia and around the world. Adelaide is a very special place to present a festival, and the support of my colleagues – staff and board of the festival, the government and sponsors, the program partners, the industry and most of all the film makers – has been sensational. I’ll miss so many aspects of this role – but after five festivals I’m ready for new challenges.”

Sedgwick was the festival's founding director in 2002 and also managed its investment fund, which backed 47 new Australian films. Among the recent slate have been critically-acclaimed films such as Samson and Delilah, Look Both Ways and Snowtown. Earlier this year, New York’s Museum Of Modern Art presented a program of films supported by the festival's investment fund in recognition of their quality, daring and vision.

In 2007, Sedgwick introduced an international jury prize to the festival and she was also the force behind this year's The Hive laboratory, which brought together filmmakers and artists from diverse fields such as theatre, dance and the visual arts, to explore creative processes. ABC TV and the Australia Council for the Arts then established a $600,000 Hive Production Fund.

South Australian premier Mike Rann said that when he established the festival in 2002, he wanted it to be different, and that Sedgwick was the right person to deliver the innovation it needed.

“She took a courageous and visionary approach to her work which ensured it became noticed on the world stage very quickly," he said in a statement. "Katrina has done an outstanding job and we wish her every best wish with her future endeavours. She has an even more stellar career ahead of her."

Adelaide Film Festival chairman Cheryl Bart said Sedgwick had been an exceptional festival director.

The festival will begin advertising for a new director in September. The 2013 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival will take place from October 10 – 20, 2013 (it was previously held from late-February to early-March before a recent date change).

Katrina Sedgwick (centre) at the 2009 festival.