Distributors from the UK, US, Russia, Spain and Romania are among theincreased numbers of internationalbuyers attending this year's Locarno Film Festival (August 2-12).

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com,Nadia Dresti, head of the festival's industry office, revealed that more than25 new companies will be coming to Locarno for the first time in 2006, bringingthe total number of buyers to over 150 from 28 countries. Since Dresti beganrunning the Industry Office in 2000, the number of attending buyers has morethan doubled from an initial 75.

Dresti said she was encouraged by the "increasing presence" ofUK and US companies with first attendance this year from such players as Tartan,The Works, Momentum, The Weinstein Company, Lifesize Entertainment, ParamountVantage and TLA Entertainment.

In addition, she has registered "growing interest" in Locarnofrom distributors from Eastern Europe such as Central Partnership (Russia),Crea Works (Ukraine), Cinemania Group (Slovenia), Tallinnfilm (Estonia) andParadigma (Hungary).

Other first-tim attendees at the Swiss festival will include Germany'sTiberius Film and Ventura Film, Spain's Eurocine and Filmax, and Morocco'sColisee.