Former Screenwest head of development and production Rikki Lea Bestall will return to the organisation as its new CEO, succeeding Willie Rowe.
A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Bestall spent more than eight years at Screenwest – during which she also worked as director of development and development manager – before leaving in 2018.
Prior to joining the organisation, she was the VP for features at Kransnoff/Foster Entertainment and worked in multiple production roles, both domestically and overseas.
Bestall told IF the timing of her appointment presented an opportunity to work with the industry and key stakeholders to develop new areas of growth, fuelled by the government’s “unprecedented” commitment to the industry.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Screenwest to drive the strategic priorities for the organisation, and play an integral role in supporting the growth of the WA Sector and its economic and cultural contribution to the state,” she said.
“I look forward to working with the amazing Western Australian screen industry, of which I have loved being a part of for many years.
“In addition to film-friendly communities and amazing landscapes, the creativity, ingenuity, and tenacity of WA filmmakers and crew are what makes the state an incredible place to produce screen content.”
Bestall’s appointment coincides with the completion of a three-year contract by Rowe, who led Screenwest through its transition from a state screen agency to an independent non-profit.
Screenwest chair John Driscoll paid tribute to the outgoing CEO while crediting his successor’s industry experience across local, national, and international spheres as to why she was chosen to step into the role.
“Willie has provided Screenwest with a much-needed stabilising influence during a period of unprecedented change for the organisation,” he said.
“We have been fortunate to have someone of Willie’s calibre leading the Screenwest over the past three years.
“The WA screen industry is poised for a period of unprecedented growth and in Rikki, we have a CEO who can lead the organisation by drawing on her success and well-deserved respect across the WA screen industry.”
Bestall will commence the role from next month.