The Locarno International Film Festival has appointed Marco Solari to succeed Giuseppe Buffi as president of the festival.

Solari, an executive at the Swiss publishing house Ringier AG, will officially take over from the festival's committee of directors who had shared the president's duties after Buffi's sudden death on the eve of this year's event.

The new president's first task will be to appoint a director for the Swiss festival, following Marco Mueller's resignation at the end of the 53rd edition. Mueller, who had overseen Locarno for nine years, stepped down to become a full-time producer at Benetton-owned Italian production company Fabrica Cinema.

Solari, 56, will also be widely expected to concentrate on boosting state funding while lobbying the government to answer angry calls from the local production community to reform the Film Law, the state's exclusive funding programme. The Swiss film industry community was recently outraged after learning that the Swiss culture ministry had already committed its entire annual $4.7 million budget for film production and development only halfway through the year.