Francois Da Silva has been replaced as artistic director of Directors' Fortnight by Parisian cinema-programmer Olivier Pere.

Da Silva, the Marseille-based cinema operator quit as artistic director of the Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine Des Realisateurs), on Thursday (July 10) after a single festival.

According to Agence France Presse, 32-year old Olivier Pere will step in to run the Cannes sidebar. While programming a cinema in Paris under the direction of the Cinematheque, the 32 year old Pere is also programmer of the Entrevue festival in Belfort and a journalist at magazine Les Inrockuptibles

Director Pascal Thomas, who is president of the SRF, the association behind the Fortnight - told AFP, "Pere has a wide cinephile culture and will know how to do what we ask of an artistic director - a programme that expresses taste and variety with a single editorial line."

Da Silva last week said "I have decided not to seek a new mandate as artistic director. After discussions with the management board of the Society of Film Directors (SRF) which appointed me and after further approaches to the new board, appointed on June 28, I have not received the guarantees of independence and stability [necessary to do the job]."

The SRF, which operates the Cannes sidebar, offered little in the way of explanation last week. "He has neither resigned, nor been sacked. Quite simply his contract has not been renewed," said Catherine Legave, an SRF executive.

Pere is the third director of the Fortnight in eleven months. The Fortnight parted ways with Marie-Pierre Macia last August. That led to dramatic scenes including the changing of locks at the Quinzaine's offices and the removal of members of Macia's staff to the local police station.

Da Silva too, is clearly bitter. In a statement he said: "I deplore the contempt for the work that has been achieved. My thoughts go to the team which accompanied me over the course of the last eight months [since his appointment] and to the film-makers who put their faith in us for the 2003 edition."

On his appointment many industry observers feared that Da Silva would be a puppet of the SRF and be made to choose too many films made by SRF members.

Instead he toed an independent and eclectic line and significantly expanded the number of features and shorts. His Fortnight selection was openly criticised in some quarters for being too diverse and lacking focus. But at the end of the festival he was able to look back on a line-up that included four of the few genuine critical hits of this year's Cannes festival: Roger Michell's The Mother, Sedigh Barmak's Osama, Bent Hamer's Kitchen Stories and Miike Takashi's Gozu.