The EdinburghInternational Film Festival has confirmed that Shane Danielsenwill step down as artistic director after the 60th festival in August 2006.

The move isanticipated as Danielsen has said since hisappointment in 2001 that he planned to say for five festivals.

The EIFF willstart its search for a new artistic director in January 2006 with the goal ofmaking an appointment during summer 2006. Danielsen'ssuccessor would be expected to take the reins at the end of the 2006 festival.

EIFF chairmanJohn McCormick said: "We always knew that Shane would depart after the2006 festival. He is an excellent curator with a great commitment to thisfestival. We will miss his skills and expertise but look forward to August 2006-- he hasn't gone yet."

Danielsen added: "It is a great privilege working forEIFF and I am looking forward to the 60th edition which we all anticipate willbe a real landmark in the life of this festival."

Prior totaking over EIFF's programming duties from Lizzie Francke in 2001, Danielsen was aprogramme adviser to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, a guestprogrammer at the Melbourne International Film Festival in his native Australia, and a guestprogrammer for the Smithsonian in Washington. He is also a journalist and critic.

Francke also held the post for five years.