10/12/2013 01:58 EDT | Updated 10/12/2013 02:03 EDT

Alan Franey Resigns: VIFF Festival Director To Step Down

Globe and Mail

Alan Franey has overseen his final Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) after a year in which attendance exceeded expectations.

The festival director is stepping down from his role after 26 years to focus on programming and other pursuits, he announced in a Saturday news release.

"It has been a privilege for me to lead this organization for so long, and there are many people I will remain grateful to," Franey said.

"Our senior staff and board have been working towards this executive transition for a few years, and we are fortunate to have several deeply knowledgeable and dedicated long-term employees who work 60-80 hour weeks on our behalf.'

Franey's final year in charge involved a mad scramble to find new venues after Empire Granville 7 Cinemas closed last year. VIFF 2012 also saw lagging attendance due to an unseasonably warm autumn.

The festival eventually found new venues including the Centre for the Performing Arts, the Vancouver Playhouse, SFU Woodward's, the Rio Theatre and Cineplex Odeon International Village.

VIFF 2013 screened 341 films from 75 countries, including 92 Canadian films and 85 non-fiction films. Seven-hundred and fifty volunteers kept operations running.

The Film and Television Forum saw particular success this year, kicking off on Sept. 27 with an event at the Centre that drew 1,800 fans to see "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan.

The Forum went on to host over 1,000 delegates, an increase of seven per cent over last year.

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