Craig Prater hasstepped down as executive director of the Bangkok International Film Festival(BKKIFF), a post that he has held for the last three years.

Prater cited"personal reasons" for his decision to resign from Film FestivalManagement (FFM), the US consulting firm that the Tourism Authority of Thailand(TAT) hired for the overall management and programming of BKKIFF. He workeddirectly for FFM rather than TAT.

Although noofficial announcement has been made, a TAT official who prefers not to be namedconfirmed Prater's departure. The government agency is understood to berestructuring the event which has been floundering in recent years following ahigh-profile launch four years ago.

The officialadded that the festival is now in search of a new director, who will be a Thainational, and a new programmer for Asia while Jennifer Stark will continue tohead the programming team.

Held for firsttime in its current format in 2003, the BKKIFF and accompanying Bangkok FilmMarket have struggled to find the right time slot in the international filmfestival calendar, clashing with other more-established festivals such asSundance and Berlin. There have also been complaints from some quarters thatthe mostly US management didn't pay enough attention to local industry oraudience concerns.

A formerexecutive director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival,California-based Prater was appointed to head BKKIFF together with Stark, alsofrom Palm Springs, after its first edition. Both collaborated on the past threeevents, with the most recent held in February this year.

Meanwhile, TATgovernor Juthamas Siriwan, who is understood to be the chief driver of BKKIFF,is due to retire this September after assuming the office in 2002.