Sheffield DocFest Hires BFI Executive As New Managing Director & Sets Return To Largely In-Person Events For 2023

The Sheffield DocFest has hired Annabel Grundy as its new Managing Director. She will join the festival on December 19 from her current role as the project manager of the BFI’s UK Global Screen Fund. 

As Managing Director, Grundy will be responsible for DocFest’s business affairs, partnerships & fundraising, production & operations as well as audience development. The role is a new, joint leadership position and she will work closely with acting Creative Director Raul Niño Zambrano who is responsible for setting the program agenda across the Festival’s Film Programmes, Alternate Realities exhibition, Marketplace & Talent activities, and Talks & Sessions for the 30th edition in 2023.

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In her role at the BFI, Grundy established and launched the Global Screen Fund in 2021, a new £7m fund from the UK Government designed to support international growth opportunities for the UK Screen Sector. She also oversaw financials across international co-productions, business development, and film sales awards. 

Grundy is also a Sheffield local with over twenty years of experience working with UK and international film organizations. She has produced large-scale, public-facing festivals and film industry events in Sydney, London, and Edinburgh and has worked with, among others, British Council, Riverside Studios, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and latterly BFI Film Audience Network where she delivered UK-wide film programs, centered around growing young and diverse audiences for specialized film and developing new voices in film curation. 

“Taking up this role with Sheffield DocFest feels like coming home. I have participated in the festival as an audience member, as a consultant, and an industry decision-maker, so I know intimately how much care and expertise goes into crafting an outstanding program each year,” Grundy said. “ I’m honored to join the dedicated and passionate team that delivers a world-class program, right here in Sheffield, and excited to take the charity forward into our 30-year celebrations in 2023, developing future editions and our year-round activity.” 

The festival, celebrating its 30th edition, will run from 14-19 June with a schedule of predominantly in-person events. In a change to past Festival schedules, the MeetMarket pitching forum will take place on Thursday, 15 June, and Friday, 16 June.

Interim CEO Clare Stewart will support the transition for both Managing and Creative Directors and conclude her role at the end of the year as planned.

Stewart added: “I love Sheffield DocFest and have relished the opportunity to be its custodian this last year. The festival plays a hugely important role in the British documentary ecosystem, has impressive global impact and is deeply embedded in a city that embraces creativity and curiosity. At a time of great challenge for film festivals everywhere, it is important to underscore and properly value how much this charitable organisation achieves, and to support its inspiring new leadership – Annabel Grundy and Raul Niño Zambrano – and their vision for the future”.

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