MIFF's Moore to move on after 2010

Melbourne exec director handled China protests

SYDNEY -- Richard Moore, the charismatic but sometimes controversial executive director of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia’s largest, is leaving the organization after the 2010 edition, with a resulting restructure that will see the role split and a CEO and festival director appointed, festival chair Claire Dobbin said Monday.

Dobbin said the restructure would bring the festival “into line with many other local and International arts organizations."

“During Richard’s tenure, MIFF has continued to grow and flourish with 2009 the biggest MIFF ever. Richard’s artistic stewardship of the festival has reaffirmed MIFF’s reputation for creative and relevant programming. The Board thanks Richard and his team for their dedication to the festival,” Dobbin said.

Moore has overseen significant growth in the festival during his four-year tenure and has bedded down the festival's move into financing for Australian films through the MIFF Premiere Film Fund and increased market activity around it with 37 South.

Perhaps most famously, Moore last year scheduled the Australian-made documentary “Ten Conditions of Love," about ethnic Uighur leader Rebiyah Kadeer, with Kadeer attending the festival.

The film and Kadeer’s presence raised the ire of the Chinese government, which formally asked for the film to be withdrawn, with other Chinese-produced films  withdrawn in protest by their producers. Meanwhile the festival’s Web site and online ticket sales facility was hacked into and disabled from inside China. At all times Moore stood by the festival's decision to screen the film.

“The last four years have been an incredibly rewarding time at MIFF culminating in last year’s very exciting festival. But after four years it is now a good time to look ahead to other challenges post MIFF 2010," Moore said, but no further reasons were given for his departure.

MIFF will start recruiting for the two new positions shortly.

This year's festival takes places July 22 to August 8.