This year's edition of the Locarno International FilmFestival (August 3-13) will be the last one under the mantle of artisticdirector Irene Bignardi.

Bignardi, 62, said that she had made it clear from thebeginning that she hadn't wanted to head the festival for any longer than fiveyears. She described her time at Locarno as "five very lovely andfascinating years" and said she wanted to give herself over to"intelligent idleness".

Bignardi became the first woman to run Switzerland's largestfilm festival when she took over from Marco Mueller in 2000 after heading thefilm editorial department of the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica since1989.

Festival president Marco Solari was quoted in the Swisspress as saying that he "done everything" to persuade Bignardi toextend her contract as artistic director.

While there is no concrete timeframe yet in place forselecting a successor for Bignardi, Solari stressed that the festival would belooking for a personality "on an international level" to take overthe reins as artistic director.