Tributes paid after death of head of Locarno film festival

Guiseppe Buffi was preparing for his first Locarno film festival. Keystone / Sandro Campardo

Cultural and political figures have been paying tribute to the president of Switzerland's biggest international film festival, Giuseppe Buffi, who died on Thursday while on holiday in Italy.

This content was published on July 21, 2000 minutes

Buffi, 62, was driving with his wife and daughter, and another passenger, when he collapsed at the wheel, reportedly having suffered a heart attack. The vehicle then left the road, causing slight injuries to the other passengers.

David Streiff, head of the federal office for culture, and former Locarno festival president, told swissinfo Buffi's death was likely to have a disastrous impact on this year's event.

"He had great plans for the festival, and he got the entire government behind the project. His death so soon before this year's festival is a disaster. He simply cannot be replaced."

Streiff said the committee will have to struggle through this year's festival, and appoint a successor as soon as it is over. "Finding a replacement will be difficult, both because Buffi was ready to devote himself entirely to the festival, and because he had influence within government."

Politicians in the cantonal government in Ticino, where he was head of the cantonal government, also paid tribute to Buffi.

Representatives fron all parties praised him at a special meeting of the city government on Friday. They said the entire canton owed him a debt of gratitude.
Official flags were flown at half mast.

Buffi's other main achievement was the setting up of the first Italian-speaking university in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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