The 40th editionof Switzerland's Solothurn film festival kicks off today with a screening ofClemens Klopfenstein's The Bird's Sermon Or The Screaming Of Monks (DieVogelpredigt Oder Das Schreien Der Moenche), featuring former Bond-girl UrsulaAndress in a supporting role.

A total 180 new Swissproductions will be shown in the course of the event.

In addition, 20 films fromthe former Yugoslavia are to be screened.

This year's festivalfeatures 386 films in total. Director Ivo Kummer told swissinfo that incontrast to previous years when the emphasis was on documentaries, 2005 couldbe called "The year of the movie".

"The film festival is notonly older, but also bigger and more important," Kummer told swissinfo. "Westarted out with 11 films in the programme, and now we have 180 in the SwissForum alone".

The Swiss Forum willshowcase a selection of films and television productions made in the differentlanguage regions over the past year.

"The Solothurn Film Festivalis a springboard for producers and film-makers presenting works for the firstor second time. It is important for their careers," said Kummer.

A new feature this year is afocus on films from the former Yugoslav republics: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia,Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro.