Sasha Close.

Sasha Close, one of Australia’s most respected exhibitors, has resigned as programming manager at Wallis Cinemas after 16 years with the Adelaide-based company.

Close, who finishes up on December 4, is taking up the role of program manager of the Gold Coast Film Festival. That contract position runs until May and is renewable.

After that she tells IF she will serve as a consultant to Australian producers, exhibitors and the wider screen industry.

“The festival has stamped itself on the festival calendar as innovative, forward thinking, inclusive and genuinely focused on diversity,” she says.

“It is an honour to be given the curatorial reigns and I warmly welcome submissions, conversations and collaborations for the 2020 program.”

In a note to industry colleagues she said: “Whilst this has been a difficult decision, I feel the timing is right for me and I have accepted an offer elsewhere in the screen industry.

“I wish to thank you all for your friendship, support, mentorship, (sometimes robust) conversation and true love of film.”

A staunch supporter of Australian films, she booked virtually every local title, most recently Imogen Thomas’ Emu Runner, Genevieve Bailey’s Happy Sad Man and Janine Hosking’s The Eulogy.

In 2016 Sasha was awarded the Natalie Miller Fellowship. The following year she was promoted from film programming manager to programming manager succeeding the long-serving Bob Parr, who moved to a consultancy role.

In a statement Wallis Cinemas said: “During her 16 years with us, Sasha has been integral to the programming team, successfully building various event schedules, programming for the multiple Wallis Cinemas and several regional cinemas across Australia and always ensuring a diversity of content for the broad and diverse audiences of movie goers.

“Sasha is highly regarded by us, by our distribution partners, associate booking cinemas and the wider screen industry.

“She expressed mixed feelings in her resignation and spoke so appreciatively of her experiences and friendships here, but she feels this new opportunity has presented itself to be tackled.”

Prior to joining Wallis she served as a programming executive at Village Cinemas in Melbourne and as a sales executive at United International Pictures.

Wallis has advertised to fill the position. The Gold Coast Film Festival runs from April 15-26.

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