The director of the International Film Festival ofValladolid, Fernando Lara, has been confirmed to replace Manuel Perez Estremeraas head of Spain's national film institute ICAA.

Lara is expected to step into his new post this week. He hasbeen in charge of the Valladolid festival for 21 editions, shaping it into akey event for independent European cinema.

The announcement came as a surprise considering PerezEstremera only replaced outgoing director Jose Maria Otero last June. Perez Estremerahas been appointed chief of public broadcaster Television Espanola (TVE), wherehe previously worked in the 1980's until becoming director of the San SebastianInternational Film Festival then head of acquisitions at Canal Plus.

The ICAA oversees the Cinema Protection Fund, which pays outsubsidies to Spanish film-makers and won a much-needed 89% budget increase inSeptember. Its budget for 2005 is Euros 64m ($86m) in 2005