Weston will oversee all aspects of the JFC's vibrant cultural and educational operations, including the upcoming Jerusalem International Film Festival, which runs July 5 to 14.
"I am thrilled to be associated with this great team, especially Lia van Leer, and I am looking forward to expanding the vision she set in motion as founding director. The vibrant Israeli film industry, and JFC's interface with the most diversified constituency of any arts organizations in the country are just two of the attractions this legendary place holds for me," says Weston.
Weston's nine year tenure at Sundance Institute has seen a dramatic growth in the scope of the Feature Film Program's international work. As the head of the international arm of the Institute's year-round Feature Film Program, focused on identifying emerging filmmakers from around the world, and providing comprehensive support and mentorship from script to screen.
"We want to congratulate Alesia on her new position heading the Jerusalem Film Centre", said Michelle Satter, Founding Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. "Since 2003, Alesia has made an extraordinary contribution to the Sundance Institute and under her leadership, the Institute expanded the work of the Feature Film Program to Labs in the Middle East, India, Israel and Turkey. She initiated and developed several international partnerships, and identified and supported some of the most exciting international filmmakers, including the writer/directors of Red Road, Sweet Mud, Paradise Now,Lake Tahoe, My Brother the Devil, Amreeka and Porfirio, among so many others. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Alesia as she begins this exciting new chapter of her career."
Weston's wide-reaching impact includes the expansion of the international work at the screenwriting and directing labs at Sundance, Utah and . She also oversaw the selection for the key international awards that sponsored emerging international artists on their first or second films, such as the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award and the Sundance/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award)
Under her leadership, the International program has worked to build infrastructure in other regions to support filmmakers locally. Through Sundance's Middle East Film Initiative, she has worked closely with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan to establish RAWI Middle East Screenwriters Lab, now in its 8th year. Additionally, she spearheaded and led the Sundance mini-lab in Tel Aviv and Sundance in Istanbul Screenwriters Labs. Weston initiated and developed Sundance Institute's multi-faceted collaboration with Mahindra which just launched the first Mumbai Mantra/Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India.
Weston's work in Israel included a partnership with Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil and the Israeli Film Fund and the Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts Cinema Project to initiate Sundance in Tel Aviv, a screenwriters lab for select Israeli filmmakers. Over the years, Israeli films she brought to the Sundance labs Include
Intimate Grammar, Sweet Mud, The Slut, Zion and his brother, Beautiful Valley and the upcoming Fill the Void.
She is also part of the core team at Sundance working on Film Forward: Advancing Cultural dialogue, a partnership between the Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She serves on the Advisory Board of TorinoFilmLab and the Jerusalem International Lab.
Also noted for her work developing individual films, Weston has shepherded many internationally celebrated titles such as Andrei Zviagintsev's Elena, Andrea Arnold's Red Road, Fernando Eimbcke's Lake Tahoe, So Yong Kim's Treeless Mountain, Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now, Andrucha Waddington's House of Sand, György Palfi's Taxidermia, Edwin's Postcards from the Zoo and Cherien Dabis' Amreeka, as well as films supported through the Sundance/NHK Award including Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Prior to her varied portfolio at Sundance Institute, Weston was head of Creative Development at Kevin Spacey's film production company, Trigger Street Productions. She has also worked for the American Film Institute. Her career in the film industry began at Imagine Entertainment working on films such as A Beautiful Mind and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Torino Film Lab and the Jerusalem International Film Lab. Along with Michelle Satter, the Founding Director of Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program, Weston will be honored with a 2012 Leadership Award from the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
Originally from London, Weston was raised in the UK, Switzerland, France and Israel before moving to the United States. She holds a BA from Georgetown University's School of Languages and Linguistics and pursued post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA in French Literature at University College, London.
David Harman, speaking for the JFC board relates "Alesia brings a wealth of international as well as Israeli and particularly Jerusalem experience to this new and challenging endeavor. Her extensive background with Sundance, the most influential force in independent filmmaking in the world and, her inspired and irrepressible enthusiasm for JFC, will provide fresh leadership that can maximize the impact of our recent facility upgrades. The board and staff welcome Alesia and look forward to a dazzling future."
The Jerusalem Film Center is a public non-profit, cultural and educational institution focused on the collection,preservation, study and promotion of international cinema. Inaugurated on the current site in 1981, this building, dedicated exclusively to cinema art, was the vision of Brazil-based businessman George Ostrovsky, who worked with Lia van Leer and Teddy Kolleck to establish the JFC on Hebron Road. This local treasure and internationally celebrated destination is also noted for its panoramic views of the walls of the Old City and the Himmon Valley. The Ostrovsky Family Fund, the Van Leer Group Foundation and the Jerusalem Foundation have been the leading underwriters.