Christoph Terhechte is to stand down as head of the Berlin Film Festival’s long-running Forum sidebar section. He will depart in July. The festival, aka Berlinale, did not immediately announce a replacement.

Forum was set up in 1971. Terhechte joined its selection committee in 1997 and took over as its director in 2001. “Terhechte now wishes to take on new career challenges,” the festival said in a statement.

The move comes amid numerous other managerial and editorial changes at the Berlinale. Festival head Dieter Kosslick has announced his departure after next year’s edition in February 2019. Wieland Speck stood down last year as long-standing head of the Panorama section.

Kosslick’s departure sparked fierce debate in the German industry, both about the direction of the festival, as well as about how representative its management is of women, racial and other minorities.

“Sincere thanks to Christoph Terhechte for his long-standing and great work at Forum. The section’s curatorial profile and its multifaceted programme made a considerable contribution to the versatility of the Berlinale and to the film discourse,” said Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick.

“Christoph Terhechte has our heartfelt gratitude for his many years of work. He succeeded in maintaining the adventurous spirit of the Forum at the Berlinale, and in consistently infusing the section with fresh incentives in the face of drastic changes in the festival landscape,” said Milena Gregor, Birgit Kohler and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus of the managing board of the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art.

The Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art managing board and the Berlinale will provide an interim section directorate for the 2019 Forum.