Lizzie Francke, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, is to quit after this year's Festival in August - her fifth in charge of programming what has become Britain's leading launch-pad for introducing new local talent.

Francke told Screen: "Five is a good round number. I've helped shaped the festival, it's been tremendously exciting, but I feel I need a new challenge."

She added that she had resigned now to ensure the festival had adequate time to find a successor, and so that she could plan her next move carefully.

That next move is, as yet unclear, although she is likely to seek work within film production. 'I enjoy working with filmmakers', she said. Last year, she was a candidate to head the low-budget production fund at UK's Film Council before the post went to producer Paul Trijbits

John McCormick, Chairman of the Festival said: "The Board is sorry to see Lizzie go. Lizzie has given the Festival the creative energy and edge which keeps it special. I am sure her last Festival this year will be the best ever.'

The post of Artistic Director will be advertised in March.