Pupi Avati, the veteran Italian director behind The Heart Elsewhere, has stepped downfrom his position as president of Cinecitta Holding. He has been replaced byformer RAI executive Carlo Fuscagni.

"I told Cultural Minister Giuliano Urbani that I wantedto resign for professional reasons," Avati said. "I am currentlyshooting a film and should start another one next January. That would mean thatI cannot carry out my duties as president of Cinecitta Holding in the way thatI would like to and ought to."

Avati is currently shooting a film in Bologna and Rome,entitled Ma Quando Arrivano le Ragazze'(literally, When are the girls coming'). The Euros 3.5m contemporary comedy,which revolves around a group of young jazz musicians, is produced by Avati'scompany, Duea Film, and backed by Rai Cinema.

Avati had been president of Cinecitta Holding since 2002 andwill remain on the board.

State-owned Cinecitta Holding is the parent company ofRome's famous studios as well as of the state production and distributionoutfit Istituto Luce. Last year, Cinecitta Holding joined forces with the Fieradi Milano and the Venice Biennale to create Audiovisual Industry Promotion(AIP), a company which aims to boost the sales of Italian films abroad, as wellas the stature of Mifed and of the Venice Screenings.