Previously specialised in young cinema, the Locarno festival is to become a generalist event from this year.
"FIAPF moved us to the general festival category which will give us freedom to choose what we want, although our focus will still be on new cinema", said artistic director Irene Bignardi during the Berlinale.
"This will also mean that we change the structure of the awards as we will not need to have two separate ones for new and young cinema."
This year's retrospective will be dedicated to one of the masters of popular American cinema Allen Dwan, while a panorama covering the past 25 years of Indian cinema - entitled Indian Summer - will present 30 titles between arthouse and Bollywood.
Among the other innovations for this year is the introduction of a new interdisciplinary section called In Progress serving as an interface between cinema and other art forms and the addition of a new 960-seater cinema.