Ian Booth.

Ian Booth. 

The head of Western Australia’s Screenwest, Ian Booth, will depart the agency at the end of the year.

Booth has been chief executive for ten years, overseeing strong growth in the sector in WA.

Screenwest Chair Janelle Marr said the timing of a December hand over allows time in the search for its next ‘strategic leader’.

“During his time as CEO, Ian has given an immense commitment and contribution to Screenwest and the screen industry.  He has guided the agency and the Western Australian screen industry through a period of significant achievement and growth,” she said.

She added the organisation’s transition to being an independent organisation will be complete by December. Screenwest is moving to a not-for-profit structure, taking a step away from state government to provide its board and CEO more independence in partnering with business, federal departments, not-for-profits, philanthropic organisations and industry sectors.

In a statement, Booth said: “It was a difficult decision and not one I made lightly. But I feel the time is right for myself personally and it’s also a good time for Screenwest with several, large-scale strategic projects recently coming to fruition.”

“My short-term aim is to focus on my family before I take up the next stage of my career.”

ScreenWest has blossomed under Booth. “When Ian started in the role, the total value of productions produced in Western Australia was less than $22 million,” Marr said. “In 2016-17, West Australia achieved a record $69 million in production value.”

Ten years ago, WA was averaging one feature film every three years. Now it averages seven per year and the quality is high. Among this year’s batch are two of the top three highest-grossing Australian films of the year: Red Dog: True Blue and Jasper Jones. Another, Simon Baker’s Breath, will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

“There has been strong development in the overall output of the West Australian television industry, in particular the factual sector, with landmark documentary series and singles achieving strong ratings and winning national and international awards and sales,” Marr added.

The CEO role will be advertised in coming weeks.

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