The board of the Rotterdam Film Festival announced Feb. 14 that director Marco Muller has quit to become topper of the Locarno fest.

Muller, who signed a four-year contract to head the Rotterdam fest in May 1989, cited “personal motives” as the main reason for ankling. He decided to accept the offer from the Swiss festival to succeed David Streiff, who will end his stint in August.

Unhappiness of Italian-born Muller with the Dutch “climate,” referring to both moist weather and a poor cinephile tradition in the Netherlands, has been apparent for some months. Muller postponed his decision until wrapping the 20th Rotterdam fest.

Simultaneously, the festival announced the appointment of a new director, Dutch journalist Emile Fallaux. Though Fallaux has no experience selecting pics for fests, the Rotterdam board believes his interest in and knowledge of the Dutch political and cultural scene is the kind of expertise needed.

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