Stephanie Allain Named Director of Los Angeles Film Festival

She succeeds Rebecca Yeldham, who recently stepped down

"Hustle & Flow" producer and former Jim Henson Pictures president Stephanie Allain is the new director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, the festival said Wednesday.

She begins immediately and succeeds Rebecca Yeldham, who stepped down after nearly three years with the festival.

Film Independent produces the festival and the Spirit Awards.

"My passion for Film Independent has only grown over the years, and I couldn't be happier to become even more involved in an organization that puts filmmakers first and supports them in specific and tangible ways," Allain said in a statement.

"The Los Angeles Film Festival is a unique celebration of cinema and a hub for filmmakers and film lovers, especially for those of us who live and work in the film industry. I can't wait to dive in and develop creative ways in which we can expand the festival and its programs."

Film Independent's co-president, Sean Mc Manus, said that "Stephanie has a clear vision for the festival, a stellar track record as a producer and a deep commitment to the festival's filmmaker-centric focus."

In addition to her work at Henson, Allain spent 10 years as an executive at Columbia Pictures, rising to senior VP production.

At Columbia she was instrumental in making "Boyz n The Hood." Among the films she supervised were "El Mariachi" and "I Like It Like That."

From 1996 to 2000, she was president of Jim Henson Pictures, where she produced "Muppets From Space," "Elmo In Grouchland" and Caroline Thompson's "Buddy." In 2000, she joined 3 Arts Entertainment, where she produced "Biker Boys" and "Good Boy!"

She formered her own production company, Homegrown Pictures, in 2004, and produced Craig Brewer's "Hustle & Flow."

Most recently, she produced "We The Peoples," Tina Gordon Chism's directorial debut. Lionsgate will release the movie, which stars Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington, in 2013.

She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America, and has juried numerous festivals. She also has taught at USC's Peter Stark Program and at the Entertainment Studies Division of UCLA.