The German film industry has been rocked by the news thatKlaus Keil is to exit his post as chief executive of the regional public filmfunding body Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg (FBB) on 31 March 2004.

Keil, who became the head of FBB when it was created by thefederal states of Berlin and Brandenburg in August 1994, is to become aco-director alongside Oliver Castendyk of the Potsdam-based traininginstitution Erich Pommer Institute.

Speaking shortly before Christmas, Keil said that he saw "newchances and new challenges" in his new job at EPI which he will combinewith lecturing at the Academy for Film & Television (HFF) "KonradWolf" in Babelsberg and the German Film & Television Academy (dffb) inBerlin.

As of Jan 1st, the FBB is being subsumed into the newly createdMedienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH.

"The goal is to further strengthen the development of themedia region of Berlin and Brandenburg and to create a network of mediabusiness and cultural activities", explained Erhard Thomas, chairman ofFBB's supervisory board.

"The Medienboard will thus become the central contact pointfor the media industry in Berlin and Brandenburg."

The Medienboard has already appointed Petra Mueller as a jointmanaging director with responsibility for strategy and location marketing,leaving Keil - and his chosen successor come April - with responsibility for the filmfunding side.

Former Berlin Senator for Cultural Affairs Volker Hassemer, whochairs the Filmboard's advisory committee, stressed that the two federal statesshould heed four "essential elements" when looking for a successorfor Keil in the coming weeks:

*theFilmboard's financial resources should not be touched;

*theprinciple of the chief executive as the sole decision-maker should be retained;

*a successorfor Keil would have to have the "same level of personality, experience andpower to assert themselves";

*and theFilmboard's shareholders should continue pushing each Land to extend itsfinancial contribution by another Euros 2.5m.