The head of WA’s premiere film festival, which has drawn the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher and Hugo Weaving to the South West, has called it quits after 15 years at the helm. CinefestOZ chief executive officer Malinda Nixon announced her resignation on Tuesday, planning to step down from the top job on May 5. The search is now on to find a new CEO to continue the growth of the highly successful not-for-profit festival, which, under Mrs Nixon’s leadership has grown to become the stage for the biggest film prize in Australia — the $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize. Chair of the CinefestOz board of directors Margaret Buswell expressed her “deep gratitude” to Mrs Nixon for her work in driving the festival’s strategy and vision. “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Malinda for her unwavering dedication and commitment to CinefestOZ,” Mrs Buswell said. “We wish her the best in her future endeavours. “We are confident that the next CEO will build on the strong foundation of CinefestOZ and drive the organisation to new heights.” The festival’s board has begun the search for a new CEO to continue the organisation’s trajectory of growth and success. Mrs Buswell said the board hoped to find a leader with the experience, skills, and vision to take CinefestOZ to the “next level”. CinefestOZ was established in Busselton in 2008 to mark the bicentenary of French exploration of the South West, but has since grown to include IndigifestOZ, the Cinesnaps schools program, and the annual CinefestOZ Screen Legend award. Now taking place in venues and on screens across Busselton, Bunbury, Margaret River and Albany, the event has become the premier destination film festival for Australian features, documentaries and short films.