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Desert storm ends with festival execs' exit.

The desert landscape was ground zero for a nuclear meltdown at last week for the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival.

Longtime exec director Craig Prater and board chairman Fred Linch abruptly resigned their posts -- the result of long-simmering tensions between those who sought global relevance and those who wanted to keep things closer to home.

Former Spelling Films exec and feat cofounder Denis Pregnolato has accepted the post of exec director on an interim basis. He previously held the job in 1989-90.

Last month, the Festival of Arts Cinemas in Palm Springs -- home base for the feat -- invited the Los Angeles AFI Fest to screen a number of films in the town. However, Prater and Linch felt that the AFI invite diluted the value of the city's own feat -- especially since the presentation included two titles that the feat had planned for its own program.

Linch will be replaced by three chairmen: developer and former feat chairman John Wessman, Martin Communications chairman Tom Martin and CBA Industries chairman and feat founder Harold Matzner.

In addition, Festival of Arts Cinemas creative director Nancy Dolensek has been appointed chief of staff while retaining her post as board vice chairman.

Making things more complicated, head programmer Jennifer Stark had also tendered her resignation but then reconsidered her decision.

The fest screens top international films, including many that are selected by their home countries as contenders for Academy Award nominations as best foreign-language pic. The 12th annual feat is slated to run Jan. 11-22.

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Title Annotation:executive resignations
Comment:Desert storm ends with festival execs' exit.(executive resignations)
Author:Harris, Dana
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Nov 20, 2000
Words:250
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