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Hay tapped as Edinburgh fest chief

Exec replaces Gavin Miller as CMI topper

LONDON — Ken Hay has been named as interim chief executive of Scotland’s Center for the Moving Image, the parent company of the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

His appointment follows the premature exit last week of former CEO Gavin Miller after just 14 months in the job.

Hay previously served as chief exec of Scottish Screen before its merger last year with the Scottish Arts Council to form the new public funding body Creative Scotland, which is the principal backer of the fest. Since then he has been working as a consultant.

“Ken Hay brings excellent, long-standing expertise as chief executive and has specialist knowledge of the screen industries,” said CMI chair Leslie Hills. “His skills will be invaluable in ensuring that Chris Fujiwara, our new artistic director, is given every support to create a wonderful Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival in 2012.”

The CMI has started recruiting for a permanent CEO.

Miller handed in his notice in early September to quit at the end of the year, after this June’s edition of the fest came in for widespread criticism. But last week the CMI board asked him to leave immediately.

At the same time, the fest announced that its 2011 ticket sales were 39,112 – down from 44,456 in 2010, but with half the number of screenings and half the budget. That admissions figure, however, includes a large number of free ticketed events. The fest’s box office gross was £183,000 ($287,000), down from $328,000 in 2010, but only a few thousand pounds short of its breakeven target.

Miller, a former BBC marketing exec, was appointed in July 2010. He was immediately forced to lay off staff in order to cut overheads, and apply for $236,000 in emergency funding for the fest from Creative Scotland to cover the fest’s running costs until the next financial year. He was responsible for hiring James Mullighan to run the 2011 festival after the resignation of the previous artistic director Hannah McGill.

Mullighan re-applied for the job of artistic director when it was re-advertised at the end of this year’s festival, but was not called for interview.

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