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Iain Smith is to be the new Chair of Edinburgh Festival

The internationally acclaimed producer Iain Smith is to be the new Chair of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it was announced today by EIFF Managing Director, Ginnie Atkinson. He will take over from John McCormick on 10 October.

McCormick has been Chair since 1996 and has led the organisation through various periods of positive change culminating in the recent UK Film Council Film Festivals Strategy 3 year Lottery award of £1.8million.

Smith, a Scot, was awarded an OBE in the 2008 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to the film industry. Smith has been a director of the EIFF since November 2007 and is a board member of the Scottish Screen/Scottish Arts Council joint board. He has served as a board member of the UK Film Council, on the Scottish Film Council, the Scottish Film Production Fund, the Scottish Film Training Trust and as a Governor of the National Film and Television School. He is currently Chair of the Film Skills Strategy Committee, Deputy Chairman of the British Film Advisory Group and is a director of the Children's Film and Television Foundation.

Smith, who will lead the EIFF Board’s search for a Co-Artistic Director for the 2009 event, to cover the current AD Hannah McGill’s maternity leave, said, “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to take over the Chair of the EIFF from John McCormick at such an exciting time in the festival's long and prestigious history. The EIFF, the oldest continuous running film festival in the world and an important benchmark for Scotland's film community, has long been respected, admired and enjoyed by filmmakers from all over the world. In these changing times the Festival will be leading the way towards the discovery and showcasing of new talent and ideas in both a local and an international context.”

EIFF Managing Director Ginnie Atkinson said, “It’s been an excellent experience working with John McCormick over the years and he will be greatly missed. We are delighted that someone of Iain Smith’s calibre has agreed to take over from him.”

Ken Hay CEO of Scottish Screen added, “Iain Smith represents all that the EIFF already is and what it seeks to be – a discoverer of talent, passionate about film and how it can inspire audiences and transform lives, and by no means least, a commitment to developing the Scottish film industry. John McCormick has been the perfect chair to navigate the festival through the last 12 years, Iain is the perfect choice to take the EIFF forward.”

The dates for The 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival are 17 – 28 June 2009.

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