We are SO thrilled that Beth Barrett has been named the permanent Artistic Director for the Seattle International Film Festival. Beth has acted as the interim AD for the last year after the resignation of Carl Spence who had held the position for many years and she’s the ideal choice to lead SIFF into the future.
Switching to the first person from my customary “Royal We”, I’m personally delighted because Beth is AWESOME both as a film professional and as a person. I had the pleasure of working with Beth back in my own SIFF Days in the mid to late aughts, and she is an open and friendly and down to earth person who knows and loves film. The film world is irritatingly rife with pompous, jaded, full of themselves assholes and the Film Festival World certainly has their share of them. There are plenty of folks in FFW who seem to think programming indie art house Albanian documentaries about Jewish Transgender Romany Lesbian Goat Herders somehow magically makes them the equivalent of Pier Paolo Pasolini or Lina Wertmüller. Having worked in the lowly confines of the box office, I’ve had to deal with more than one arrogant, trust fund supported, hipster than thou film studies “artiste” than I care to recall…those types tend to shun anyone not quite in their league of artistic awesomeness….for running a glorified metroplex movie cinema for 3 weeks a year. But, Beth was ALWAYS one of the “good guys” who had no airs or pretensions…she just loves movies and sharing that love with other people.
So, “Condragulations and a Big Hug” to Beth Barrett!
The poo from SIFF about this announcement:
Beth Barrett, former Director of Programming, has been named SIFF’s new Artistic Director. With her advancement, Barrett becomes SIFF’s first female Artistic Director, one of only a select few women in the United States holding this position for a major film festival. Barrett assumed the mantle of Interim Artistic Director last October, leading the organization though a very successful 43rd Seattle International Film Festival.
Barrett began her career at SIFF in 2003, in the Publications department as a volunteer Copy Editor. By 2006 she had worked her way up to Programming Manager, eventually moving into the role of Director of Programming in 2011. Since then has been responsible for managing all aspects of film programming, from overseeing the staff of film programmers, to securing films and guests for the Festival. Barrett has also been instrumental in the programming and management of SIFF Cinema and SIFF’s other year-round programs. An aficionado of short films, she helped secure SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008.
“Beth has played a key role in SIFF’s growth for over a decade. Along with her artistic vision she brings a ton of passion and energy,” said Rich Fassio, SIFF Board President. “This is an exciting time for our organization; SIFF is experiencing consistent upward growth and we are about to conclude another record year. The Board looks forward to supporting Beth as she continues SIFF’s mission to bring the best of the world of cinema to Puget Sound and beyond.”
“Beth is, without a doubt, the right person to lead SIFF’s artistic programming into the future. She has a deep knowledge of and commitment to film and our community that is expressed beautifully through her artistic choices. SIFF is very lucky to have her on our team,” said Sarah Wilke, SIFF’s Executive Director.
Reflecting on her years at SIFF, Beth said, “Having been part of SIFF for the last 15 years, during times of growth and change, I am constantly amazed at the staff, board, and members’ commitment to the work we do and the community we have built. I am honored and excited to shepherd the organization into the next chapter.”