Tsi steps down at H.K. film fest

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BEIJING -- Peter Tsi has resigned as executive director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, ending a six-year run on top of the organization.

Tsi declined comment Thursday on industry speculation that he was unhappy about the level of government support for the event.

The 2007 edition of the festival, founded in 1977, cost HK$17 million ($2.2 million) to stage, according to festival officials who asked not to be named. Of that, only HK$7 million ($898,000) came from the Hong Kong government's Arts Development Council, while the balance of the budget was raised from commercial sponsors.

Last March at the festival's 31st edition, critics said that the event's historically independent spirit was being hampered by the growing percentage of the budget coming from commercial sponsors.

In a phone interview, Tsi said that he was bound by contract to not comment on his reasons for handing in his resignation Monday, adding that he would "probably not" continue at the festival in a new role.

"There will be a next move for me, probably related to media, but I am unable to say more at this time," Tsi said.

Until a successor is chosen, artistic director Li Cheuk-to and administrative director Jannie Ma will divide Tsi's job, Ma said, adding that a job advertisement will be posted in the South China Morning Post on Saturday.

The next edition of the festival, which runs alongside the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum as a part of the larger Entertainment Expo, is due to run March 1-April 16.

Tsi's resignation came within days of the appointment of Jack So as chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. HKTDC helps to organize the HKIFF and sends representatives to other major film events and festivals such as the Festival du Cannes, to represent and market Hong Kong's film industry.

Saul Symonds in Hong Kong contributed to this report.
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