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Mark Adams is stepping down as artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival after having overseen five editions of the event.

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with the team in Edinburgh and help deliver the growth and development of EIFF over the last five festivals and to be instrumental in re-establishing its international profile,” said Adams, who officially leaves this week. “I have decided it is time to move on and look to new and exciting opportunities.”

During Adams’ tenure at festival, overall admissions increased, hitting 70,000 in 2019. His innovations included the People’s Premiere, extending the reach of the festival, and delivering immersive cinema experiences for new festival audiences.

Sandy Begbie, chair of the festival, said: “Mark has worked tirelessly to ensure that EIFF remained relevant to old and new audiences alike. As we look forward to the future, we are hugely grateful for all that Mark has done for the festival.”

Adams is a former film journalist and critic for U.K. newspaper The Sunday Mirror and trade title Screen International. He was head of programming at the National Film Theatre, and director of cinema at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.

EIFF said recruitment for a new artistic director will get underway in the new year. In the meantime, Rod White, director of  programming for EIFF’s parent charity, CMI, will work alongside the existing team to deliver the festival’s 74th edition in 2020. It runs June 17-28.

Ken Hay, chief executive of the EIFF, said: “I’m delighted that Rod has agreed to oversee the curation of the screenings program of the 2020 EIFF.  Rod has led the programming team at Filmhouse for the past 20 years, delivering a hugely rich and diverse program for an increasingly broad audience, and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for our 74th edition.”

Social satire “Boyz in the Wood,” starring Eddie Izzard, opened this year’s EIFF. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s “Farming” scooped the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the festival.

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