Beckie Stocchetti has been named executive director of the Hawaii International Film Festival. She will succeed Robert Lambeth effective Aug. 1.
Lambeth announced the appointment Thursday evening at an opening reception for HIFF’s Spring Showcase. He has served as executive director since 2014 and will remain with HIFF through April, overseeing Spring Showcase screenings at the Dole Cannery Stadium 18 multiplex that begin today and continue through April 9.
A former Honolulu resident with ties to HIFF, Stocchetti’s most recent position was with the Chicago Film Office, where she oversaw independent and local film initiatives. Previous to that, she was director of engagement and programs at Kartemquin Films, a distributor of independent films. Also in Chicago, Stocchetti worked as program director for the nonprofit Chicago Filmmakers organization.
In Honolulu, Stocchetti said, she’ll immediately focus on HIFF’s larger fall film festival, which takes place Nov. 2 to 12. She will also be turning her attention to preparing for the organization’s 40th anniversary festival in 2020.
“HIFF is a world-class festival,” Stocchetti said. “Its major challenges are what they’ve always been: to find enough support, locally and nationally, to continue and to extend its reach.”
One of her priorities will be strengthening community partnerships. “We’ll start locally and grow up … globally,” she said.
As executive director, Stocchetti will oversee all HIFF endeavors, including its spring and fall festivals, year-round screenings at Courtyard Cinema at Ward Villages, filmmaker partnerships and educational programs.
HIFF has two mandates: to be a “festival of record” for emerging films from Asia, the Pacific and North America; and to present top festival films from around the world.
In 2015, HIFF parted ways with EuroCinema Hawaii, which had sponsored a “festival within a festival” during HIFF’s fall event, spotlighting European films. Now independent and renamed as Hawaii European Cinema, the group held its film festival this month and is hosting a glitzy red-carpet gala tonight at the Moana Surfrider with actors Nancy Kwan and Pierce Brosnan among those receiving awards.
Stocchetti acknowledged a recurring tug of war in the organization between a desire for star power and gala events and HIFF’s core mission of showcasing films from Asia and the Pacific, but said it was too early in her tenure to say how HIFF might strike that balance in years to come.
“HIFF has always striven to balance glitz and glamour and showcasing culture,” she said.
Stocchetti was affiliated with HIFF between 2009 and 2015, working in a variety of positions, from operating a 35-millimeter projection camera to coordinating screenings and writing grants, as well as serving as director of education. She lived in Honolulu between 2009 and 2012.
From 2009 to 2011, Stocchetti was assistant film curator with the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she studied film and media.
“I am confident Beckie’s talent, passion and vision will lead us to new heights in this next chapter,” said HIFF board president Owen Ogawa in a statement. “Her experiences with HIFF, festivals on the mainland and within the industry are paramount as we endeavor to continue to share our love of international film and cultivate a base of support through this platform for many years to come.”
See a full schedule of films for the HIFF Spring Showcase at hiff.org. Tickets for individual films, $10 to $14, are available online, by phone at 447-0577 or at the festival ticket station inside Dole Cannery foyer.