Jacqueline Lyanga named artistic director of Film Independent

AFI FEST 2017 - Screening Of “Molly’s Game” - Red Carpet
Festival director for AFI FEST Jacqueline Lyanga speaks onstage at the screening of “Molly’s Game” at the closing night gala at AFI Fest 2017.
(Michael Kovac / Getty Images for AFI)

On Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles arts organization Film Independent announced that Jacqueline Lyanga will be the group’s new artistic director.

Film Independent is best known as the organization that puts on the Spirit Awards, the looser awards show that traditionally happens the day before the Oscars. Film Independent also put on the L.A. Film Festival for 18 years, before announcing the event would be discontinued shortly after the conclusion of the 2018 edition last fall.

“Film Independent is a vital organization that serves Los Angeles and a global community of filmmakers,” Lyanga said in a statement. “I am elated at this opportunity to build out an innovative year-round programming strategy for Film Independent that will champion filmmakers and artists and provide a new platform for cultural experiences.”

Lyanga was director of L.A.’s AFI Fest for eight years, leaving the organization in 2018. She was guest director for virtual reality and immersive storytelling at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival. She was recently recognized as a chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government for her contributions to the art of cinema.


In her new position, Lyanga will lead year-round programming for the Film Independent Presents series, curate the Portal, a showcase for virtual reality and immersive storytelling, and build out additional programming throughout the year.

“Jacqueline joins Film Independent at a moment of tremendous growth in our organization,” said Mary Sweeney, chair of the Film Independent board of directors, in a statement. “With her knowledge, vision and international experience, we’re confident that she will create a new model of year-round celebration and support of the film community in Los Angeles.”

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