Bob Last steps down as Film Festival chief

Bob Last, chairman of the Edinburgh International Film Festival
Bob Last, chairman of the Edinburgh International Film Festival
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THE chairman of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has stepped down from his role just days before the start of the latest event.

Bob Last, the chairman of the Centre for the Moving Image, which oversees the operation of the EIFF, has announced he is to stand down with immediate effect.

His resignation comes just three months after the appointment of Mark Adams as the festival’s new artistic director. The previous artistic director, Chris Fujiwara, stood down in September without explanation shortly after renewing his contract.

Mr Last, a producer who has worked on films including Sunset Song and The Illusionist, had been in the post for less than three years.

He said: “It’s been an honour and a pleasure to chair the CMI. We have made huge strides in developing the business, including raising the profile and standing of EIFF, investing in the future of the Filmhouse Cinema, and taking on the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.”

The CMI has announced that the process of looking for a new chairman has begun. Under Mr Last’s tenure, the festival has seen a constant increase in admission numbers with a ten per cent increase in 2013 and a four per cent increase last year. Also, while still under his command it recently formed a partnership with the Wellcome Trust and the Beltane Public Engagement Network to create an Ideas Lab at which Scottish Writers and Directors could meet, share and discuss work.

Ken Hay, chief executive of the CMI, said: “Bob has been a fantastic chair, bringing focus, energy and passion to the role, as the organisation has continued to transform itself. He has been a huge personal support to me. Replacing him will be a challenge, but made much easier by his hard work over the last three years.”

Mr Last’s resignation comes on the same day as members of the festival juries were announced. Among them are former Doctor Who star Karen Gillan, respected LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan and renowned director Amy Berg.

Also scheduled to attend the festival’s opening night is Trainspotting’s Robert Carlyle, and actors Ashley Jensen and James Cosmo, while films to be screened include Amy, documenting the life of singer Amy Winehouse.

The curtain will be raised on this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 17, closing again on June 28.