Frédéric Maire has been appointed director of the Locarno Film Festival, which drew to a close on Saturday for the 58th time.This content was published on August 14, 2005 - 15:42
The 44-year-old film critic and director from Neuchâtel takes over from Irene Bignardi, who had held the position for five years.
Announcing Maire's appointment on Sunday, festival president Marco Solari said the festival board's decision had been unanimous.
Maire starts his three-year contract on October 1. He said he would move to Locarno with his family.
Maire speaks fluent Italian and worked for the Locarno festival's press office during the 1990s under Marco Müller, Irene Bignardi's predecessor.
Maire is also one of the founders of Laterna Magica, which holds educational screenings for Swiss children aged 6-12 in more than 60 towns.
He has directed various documentaries, short films and feature films.
"Thank you very much to the president and the board for having the confidence to give me this extraordinary tool of Locarno," Maire said on Sunday.
"I would like to personally salute Irene and Teresa [Cavina, Bignardi's deputy]. Irene is a great cinematic figure and I am honoured to be taking over from her."
Maire said he would pursue the line mapped out by Bignardi and added that he would devote equal time to unearthing technically innovative films as well as blockbusters for the Piazza Grande.
Bignardi had been criticised by some for putting an emphasis on political issues and other forms of cinema rather than on the festival's showpiece, the international competition.
Teresa Cavina, Bignardi's deputy, is also leaving but the position of vice-director will not be filled. Maire said he was counting on teamwork "with a wide-ranging outlook".
swissinfo with agencies
The 58th Locarno Film Festival, the largest film festival in Switzerland, ran from August 3-13.
38 countries were represented.
17 films took part in the international competition.
18 films were shown on the Piazza Grande, the giant outdoor screen.
Frédéric Maire is 44 and comes from Neuchâtel.
He works as a film critic for a Neuchâtel paper and is one of the founders of Laterna Magica, which holds educational screenings for Swiss children.
Maire speaks fluent Italian and worked for the press office of the Locarno Film Festival during the 1990s.
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