Simon Field is to resign as the director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The next edition in 2004 will be his last. His co-director, Sandra den Hamer, will remain in her position.

In a statement Field said: "In 2004 I will have been with the festival for eight years, helping to build an important national and international event. I would like to explore new possibilities and have the chance to return more permanently to my home base in London. I also believe that in one year's time, after I have been at the festival for eight years, it would be a good idea to refresh the artistic leadership of the festival to build with renewed energy on the festival's already substantial achievements."

During his tenure, Field gained an excellent reputation for his knowledge of film culture. He often experimented with other artforms, often in collaboration with museums in Rotterdam. Under his aegis new media, like film experiments on the internet, became a more substantial part of the festival in the section Exploding Cinema.

Lately, however, there was some criticism of Field by the festival board. Field never learned to speak Dutch and never moved to Rotterdam. Some feel that he was not enough involved in the Dutch cinema-community.

Next month Field, Den Hamer and the festival board will decide about the future of the event. The IFFR has grown substantially under Field and Den Hamer. The latest 32th edition that finished last weekend, saw 355,000 admissions, 5,000 more than in 2002.