Hulya Ucansu, the directorof Istanbul Film Festival through its entire 25 years of existence, is leavingher post at the end of this year's edition of the event.

Rumours were persistentthroughout the festival and were confirmed on the last day by a an officialpress release put out by the Istanbul Foundation for Arts and Culture, thefestival's parent organization. While the decision was surprisingly unmentionedon stage at the closing night ceremony, it was made public later, at theclosing night party.

Taking over at the top isAzize Tan, associated in different capacities with the festival for severalyears, who has been Ucansu's assistant since 2003.

Identified with the festivalwhich she has worked hard to put on the world map and highly appreciated forboth her charm and determination, Ucansu was reputed for running a remarkablytight ship in every respect, and given credit for nursing the event into aninternational launchpad for the Turkish cinema.

Ucansu says the Foundationhad asked her to stay on in her present job, but as she felt the offer wasunacceptable, she preferred to turn it down.

Sakir Eczacibasi, thefoundation's chairman, and Gorgun Taner, its director general, told Screen thatthey had been discussing the possibility of infusing new blood into themanagement with Ucansu for several years.

They added that they haveasked her to join the festival's advisory committee.