With just over three months to go, the beleaguered 'official' Diagonale 04 festival has given its Austrian films curator Wolfgang Ainberger his marching orders after his criticism of the festival's directors was made public in the Austrian media last week (ScreenDaily.com, 24 Nov 2003).

In an official statement, the Diagonale's director of business affairs Tillmann Fuchs said that "with his way of acting, Ainberger has contravened the elementary principles of 'loyalty and decency' that one can expect from a contractual partner."

He described Ainberger's criticisms as "untenable" and "insubstantial", adding that he [Ainberger] had "himself declared in this letter that he was unable to manage the task he had been assigned."

Speaking to the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard, Ainberger, who has been threatened with a civil action by the Diagonale, said that he would "be certain to appeal against the dismissal."