Telefilm Canada executive director Wayne Clarkson has announced he will step down at the conclusion of his five-year term in January 2010.

Clarkson, who took on the top job in January 2005, has enjoyed a fairly smooth ride during his tenure. He fulfilled several objectives made in the early days including a streamlining of the funding system, and the decentralization of decision-making regarding smaller projects.

If there is a single over-riding disappointment, it is the failure of provinces to follow the example of Quebec in contributing meaningful sums to development and production of local fare, a cause Clarkson championed from the start. There were minor hiccups, as when Clarkson announced the appointment of a new film czar only to have the person renege on the appointment, forcing Clarkson to take on the role himself.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as the executive director of Telefilm, one of Canada’s most valued cultural institutions committed to the promotion and development of our audiovisual industries,” said Clarkson in a statement. “But there is still a lot of work to do and, over the remaining six months of my term, I will continue to focus on Telefilm’s key challenges and priorities,” he concluded.          

Telefilm said its board of directors has commenced the executive search for Clarkson’s replacement.