Diego Galan, the popular head of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, plans to leave his post in January 2001, to be replaced by the festival's number two, Mikel Olaciregui, according to Spanish press reports.

Sources at the festival would neither confirm nor deny the reports, which said that Galan is stepping down for "personal reasons" but would stay on at the festival as a consultant. The changes would not go into effect until several months after this year's 48th edition which will be held September 21-30.

The festival is scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow "to announce changes in the direction of the festival in January 2001." Galan and Olaciregui are set to attend.

Galan was unanimously voted last year to continue as director of San Sebastian, a position he has held since 1995 and between 1986 and 1989. He is credited with heightening the international profile of the event, and injecting it with a dash of glamour. His connections in the US art and film world have resulted in what has become one of New York's premiere parties, the annual San Sebastian bash hosted by Julian Schnabel in his home.

Galan personally greets each invited guest as they arrive at the festival, just one element which contributes to its much-appreciated intimate and relaxed atmosphere.