Stephenson to step down from post

LONDON  — Neil Stephenson is ankling as CEO and director of the Dubai Intl. Film Festival after three years to pursue other interests.

Move was announced by fest execs as they confirmed the fourth edition will be held Dec. 9-16.

Intl. artistic director Simon Field and Arabic programming artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali will continue in their roles, while managing director Shivani Pandya will see her day-to-day responsibilities expanded. All three will report to fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma, who will remain overall head honcho.

Stephenson’s departure comes after Juma’s appointment in September. Juma soon became the fest’s most prominent face. 

Stephenson has not disclosed his plans.

Dubai has become an increasingly important Mideast showcase since its launch in 2004.

Last year’s event included its first competition, the Muhr Awards, the richest prize on the Arab film fest calendar with a top award of $325,000.

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