The French press is awashwith rumours that David Kessler, president of film support body the CNC, is tostep down this autumn to be replaced by Catherine Colonna, the spokesperson forthe Elysee Palace - France's equivalent to the White House.

Asked by ScreenDaily.comif the speculative reports in Le Film Francais, Le Monde and LeFigaro were true, the CNC refused to comment.

Kessler has been CNC chiefsince 2001 and previously worked with former prime minister Lionel Jospin, asocialist.

There is no set time limit onthe CNC president's term; however, they are often replaced when a new cultureminister with different political leanings is appointed to the government.

Former culture ministerJean-Jacques Aillagon was replaced by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres earlier thisyear. Although both men are conservatives, it seems Donnedieu de Vabres haspushed for the change at the head of the CNC where Aillagon did not.

As spokesperson for theElysee Palace, Colonna certainly hails from the right side of government. Andwhile she has no background in cinema or the audiovisual arts, Colonna holds adegree from the prestigious ENA school where many of the country's toppoliticians are educated. She has also worked at the French embassy in theUnited States and the Foreign Affairs Ministry and began working with presidentJacques Chirac in 1995 when he was elected to the post.

Should the Colonna rumourprove true, it would mark the first time the CNC has appointed a femalepresident.