Ben Gibson, the departing Director of the London Film School, has been appointed to a new senior role at AFTRS, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, as Director, Degree Programs. He will start work in Sydney in September.
Gibson will play a key leadership role in ensuring the successful delivery and development of a new three-year AFTRS Bachelor of Arts (Screen) degree and AFTRS Screen and Screen Business Masters degrees, which are being restructured and relaunched for 2015.
“Ben is eminently qualified for this pivotal new role at AFTRS, and I’m thrilled that he could be persuaded to bring his considerable skills, experience and academic rigor to Australia. His 14 years as Director of the very successful London Film School are notable for his work in building up the school’s reputation in the UK and abroad and expanding and accrediting its prestigious postgraduate degrees. Ben has also been a very successful and original independent producer and production executive, and has previously worked in distribution and exhibition, so he comes with a deep knowledge of the international screen industry at all levels,” said Sandra Levy, CEO of the AFTRS.
Prior to joining the London Film School in 2001, Gibson worked as a film distributor and independent producer, and as Head of Production at the British Film Institute from 1988 to 1998. His production and executive production credits include Terence Davies' " The Long Day Closes," Derek Jarman's "Wittgenstein," John Maybury's "Love is the Devil," Carine Adler's "Under the Skin"and Jasmin Dizdar's "Beautiful People," as well as 20 other low budget features and many shorts by UK directors including Patrick Keiller, Gurinder Chadha, Lynne Ramsay, Richard Kwietniowski and Andrew Kotting. As a partner in distributors The Other Cinema/Metro Pictures he acquired and promoted films by Pedro Almodovar, Chris Marker, Chantal Akerman and Jean-Luc Godard as well as opening the West End’s Metro Cinema in 1986. He has also been a theater director, a repertory film programmer and a film critic and journalist. He leaves LFS at the end of July.
Ben Gibson said: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to Sandra Levy’s vision of AFTRS as a complete screen school -- and to get the chance to work in the Australian film industry, one I’ve hugely admired and followed -- so far from a great distance. AFTRS offers a special combination of good things: self-confidence, an extraordinary heritage, great creative ambition, exceptional resources, a wide educational scope and a central mission in a dynamic and productive screen industry. It’s rightly considered to be one of the great film schools of the world. I can’t wait to join the team and get started there.”
Gibson’s final year at LFS has been attended by great creative success. The school won 35 festival prizes and mentions in 2013-14, including a BAFTA
nomination. Ms Levy pointed out that this year’s Palme d'Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival was won by Leidi, the LFS graduation film of Simón Mesa Soto. Also at Cannes, amongst seven graduates featured in the 2014 selection, "The Salt of the Earth," co-directed by LFS graduate Juliano Ribeiro Salgado with Wim Wenders, was awarded the Un Certain Regard’s Special Jury Prize.
Director Mike Leigh, Chair of Governors at the London Film School, in announcing Ben’s departure earlier this year, said: “Ben Gibson has led LFS from strength to strength over his fourteen years of outstanding service, and we will be sad to see him go.”
AFTRS is Australia’s national screen arts and broadcasting school and has been named as one of the Top 20 film schools in the world by industry journal,
The Hollywood Reporter. As an elite specialist institution, AFTRS provides excellence in education through its practice based model, and aspires to deliver
a dynamic educational offering that prepares the most talented and creative students – novice, experienced, fully fledged professional specialists – to be
platform agnostic, creative and resilient in an industry subject to constant changes in knowledge and technology. The new BA Screen is a 3-year program
offering a strong base in the understanding of story and screen history alongside a comprehensive introduction to the skills of screen production.