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Editor of BFI-owned film mag Sight and Sound steps down after 21 years

The editor of film magazine Sight and Sound is stepping down after 21 years.

Nick James started on the British Film Institute-owned monthly magazine in 1995 as deputy editor, moving to editor just two years later.

He said his decision to step down was to pursue his “wider ambitions as a writer”, but he will continue to be a freelance contributor for the title.

James said: “It is with tremendous pride, but no hesitation, that I’m stepping down from what I have often described as the greatest job on earth.

“Editing Sight and Sound has been a thrilling switchback adventure for much of my life but I have long nurtured wider writing ambitions that I now want to pursue.

“I believe the magazine has never been better than it is right now, and that’s down to our fantastic team, who have always made me look good, and to our many brilliant contributors, so my first thanks is to them.”

James also thanked BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill and creative director Heather Stewart for ensuring the magazine had editorial freedom and supporting “the continued importance of crucial writing about film”.

The BFI said it will begin recruiting for a new editor-in-chief to replace James, who made the announcement that he would be leaving last week, and that there will be a handover period between.

Stewart thanked James for the “huge passion, knowledge and commitment that he has brought to ensuring the magazine has remained the most important film publication in the world”.

“He has overseen some great moments in Sight and Sound’s long history, from standout feature interviews with filmmakers and actors from Tarantino, Cronenberg and Huppert to Oliver Stone, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and his BFI Southbank interview for BBC Two with Scorsese.

“His contribution to film culture has been recognised internationally not just by our readership, but his knowledge and judgement sought on festival juries all over the world.

“Nick is a brilliant writer – read his BFI Screen Classic on Michael Mann’s Heat – and I’m very happy that he will be continuing to write, entertaining and informing us about this world of film that we all love.”

Sight and Sound had a circulation of 15,191 in 2018, down from 25,300 in 2000 according to ABC figures.

James has also written about film, literature and art national newspapers and magazines. He has written a book published by BFI about the Michael Mann film Heat and presented BBC documentaries and interviews on TV.

Picture: BFI

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