After 18 long months of fruitless talks, Katriel Schori has officially withdrawn his candidacy for the top executive job at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

Had he taken the role, hewould havebecome not only head of the Cinematheque but also of the Jerusalem Film Festival and the Israeli Film Archive.

Approached in the spring of 2006 to take over from founder and all-round chief of the institution, Lia Van Leer - whowas to move to an honorary position at the top of the pyramid.

Schori has been trying to arrive at an agreement with the Van Leer, Ostrovsky and Jerusalem foundations - the three organisations responsible for financing most of the Jerusalem operations, but had reached a dead end.

He suggested stepping out of the raceseveral times, the last time immediately after the Festival in July, but had been asked to delay his final decision for a little while longer.

Schori, generally considered the single most influential person in the Israeli film industry, has been the head of the Israeli Film Fund for the last nine years and has been instrumental, to a great extent, in the quantum leap recently registered by Israeli films, both at home and abroad.

Now, that he has put the Jerusalem option firmly behind him, he has reconfirmed his commitment to the Fund and is right now recognition and an adequate budget for its future operations.

The main contender for the Jerusalem job is now Ilan de Vries, who was in charge of the combined Cinematheque, Festival and Archive administration for several years, before moving to the programming department of Tel Ad, a broadcaster with the commercial Second Channel.

Once Tel Ad lost its franchise, de Vries moved on as an independent producer, and is now the general director of Mishekanoth Sha'ananim, a prestigious Jerusalem art center and guest house, incidentally located just across the street from the Cinematheque.