Michael Auret, headof the South Africa's SithengiFilm and TV Market and the Cape Town World Cinema Festival, has stepped downafter wrapping Sithengi's 10th anniversaryedition.

Auret took over at Sithengi in 2001 and set up the concurrent film festival in2002; last year Sithengi logged 1700 delegates whilethe festival saw a 10 percent rise in admissions. But although his contractruns to 2007, CEO Auret feels it is time for "newblood" to reinvigorate the events, and he will carry on as a consultant to thenext edition (November 17-26) as well asworking onnew programmes startedin 2005 including the Sithengi/HIVOS Film Fund andthe African co-production Forums.

The position will now be advertised.

"The vision incorporated in the business planadopted by the Board in 2001 has now been achieved and the successes now haveto be consolidated and deepened," said Auret in astatement. "It is time for me to hand over the baton to someone else who canbring a new energy into the organisation."

The chair of the board of directors, Eddie Mbalo, acknowledged Auret'scontribution, saying he hoped his "continued work with the organisation willhelp the new CEO to take the events to greater heights."