Over a dozen new international buyers - from Japan's Asmik Ace to Norway's Oro Films and the UK office of Unversal Pictures - are attending the Locarno International Film Festival for the first time this year; clear evidence of the festival's increasing market relevance.

According to Industry Office co-ordinator Nadia Dresti, around 100 international buyers will be coming to the festival which kicks off today. Other new buyers attending this year include Zazie Films (Japan), E Pictures (South Korea), Fandango (Italy), Delphi Film Verleih (Germany), Panorama (Hong Kong), Prooptiki SA (Greece), Comart (South Africa), MDC International (Germany) and Ost for Paradis (Denmark).

In addition to hosting daily "Happy Business Hours" for buyers to meet with producers and filmmakers, the Industry Office is also collaborating with the MEDIA Plus producer training initiative Ateliers du Cinema Europeen (ACE) to stage four practical sessions for producers to explore the potential for collaboration on future projects.