Orson Welles' final film could be set for release next year.

The 'Citizen Kane' director - who passed away in 1985 - never completed 'The Other Side of the Wind', meaning it was never released to the public.

However, Royal Road Entertainment are now said to have reached an agreement to buy the rights to the film with the aim of releasing it by May 6 next year - the 100th anniversary of Welles' death - according to The New York Times newspaper.

Welles shot the movie - which is to be promoted at the American Film Market next week - between 1970 and 1976 and worked on it until his death, leaving behind a 45-minute work print.

'The Man Who Would Be King' actor, John Huston, starred as a temperamental film maker battling with Hollywood bosses to finish a movie - which Welles often did throughout his career.

Susan Strasberg, Lilli Palmer, Dennis Hopper and Peter Bogdanovich also played supporting roles in the film.

Royal Road has negotiated agreements with Welles' collaborator Oja Kodar, his daughter and sole heir Beatrice Welles and Iranian-French production company L'Astrophore in order to obtain the rights to the film.

Welles had financed the project through a combination of TV roles and investors, who included Mehdi Busheri - the brother-in-law of the shah of Iran and an investor in L'Astrophore.

The pair clashed during production, leading Bushehri to take control of more than 1,000 reels of negatives which have been stored in a warehouse in Paris.

A number of efforts have been made to iron out legal issues since Welles' death and, two years ago, producer Frank Marshall - who was a line producer on the project - joined forces with Royal Road and approached Beatrice Welles and Oja Kodar.

Marshall told the newspaper: ''We have notes from Orson Welles. We have scenes that weren't quite finished, and we need to add music. We will get it done. The good news is that it won't take so long because of all the technology today.''