End of an era at Exit 6 as Mark Brennan steps down as director

Updated: Jan 15

Times are changing at Exit 6 as Mark Brennan steps down as Festival Director after co-founding festival in 2015.


As one of the co-founders of Exit 6, Mark has overseen 6 editions of the festival, starting out as a physical event in the first year, moving online during the pandemic, then transitioning to a hybrid event in 2021. On his watch, Exit 6 has consistently been listed in the Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals on FilmFreeway out of more than 10,000 festivals worldwide, becoming a highly regarded event on the festival circuit by filmmakers, and by the wider industry.

"Exit 6 is, and will always be, one of the great loves of my life. It is with many emotions that I now step down, but without adequate words to express how grateful I am for all the festival has given me. I have worked with the most wonderful and passionate people, watched exciting short films from around the world and met the brilliant filmmakers behind them, interviewed and collaborated with industry professionals who I greatly respect and admire - invited all of them to party in my hometown - and made friends for life along the way."

"Running Exit 6 is a lot of work, all year round. After 7 years, I would now like to invest more time and focus in other projects and opportunities, including my own filmmaking. With that in mind, and a wonderful team in place, it seems the right time - and rather fittingly - that means Year 6 of Exit 6 was my last as Director."

"I'd like to thank all the selection panellists, Q&A hosts, judges, sponsors, bloggers, volunteers, venues, the Council and local businesses, audiences, filmmakers, friends and family who have all supported both myself and the festival throughout my time as Director. Most of all, I would like to thank the festival team, from the bottom of my heart, for making Exit 6 everything that it is, and will continue to be. None of what we've created would have been possible without you, and I'm very excited to see where it goes from here."

Mark will continue to support the festival in a non-executive role, while Paul Anderson will leave his post as Submissions Director to become the new Festival Director at Exit 6.

In addition to being the co-founder of movie podcast Strangers in a Cinema, Paul has also recently produced his second short film. He's been both an online and festival day Q&A host, quizzing our filmmakers whose work is in the official selection, and his work as Submissions Director throughout the year makes him very familiar with what keeps Exit 6 ticking. Equally passionate about the work of others as well as his own, he's ideally placed to become the new Festival Director at Exit 6.

"The moment I attended the very first Exit 6 as a guest, I was blown away by the calibre of the festival and delighted to see such an event in my home town. I knew I wanted to be part of the team and joined the selection panel the following year, so it's a pretty crazy feeling to be taking up the role of Festival Director six years later!"

"Providing a platform for filmmakers to share their work is an incredible privilege, and it’s certainly given me an opportunity to see some superb films over the years. Without filmmakers, there would be no festival, so the ‘by filmmakers, for filmmakers' ethos is something that will continue to underpin everything we do here at Exit 6."

"Mark’s drive and energy has been integral in shaping Exit 6 into the festival we know and love, so I’ll be stepping into some pretty big shoes, but with the support of our brilliant team I am very much looking forward to Exit 6 2022 and beyond."

Submissions for Exit 6 Film Festival 2022 are now open, with our Earlybird deadline on FilmFreeway approaching on February 2.