Locarno's Piazza Grande open-air programme has come under harsh criticism from Roger Crotti, general manager and vice president of Buena Vista International (Switzerland) - whose world premiere screening of Nigel Cole's Calendar Girls was seen by an audience of 9,500 on Saturday (Aug 9).

In an interview with the Swiss daily newspaper Basler Zeitung, Crotti said: "The Piazza is not the competition. The Piazza is for the masses. One needs a good mixture there of sophisticated, but not too sophisticated films'But the festival didn't manage to get this mixture this year."

The Piazza programme this year has featured a mix of mainstream and arthouse films.

"The Piazza programming worked out much better last year than now. In my opinion, Irene Bignardi has enough contacts to get to the right products.", Crotti stated.

He also argued that Locarno "absolutely needs more glamour" and welcomed moves by festival president Marco Solari to enlist the help of veteran Swiss producer Arthur Cohn to attract more stars to the festival.

"With Marco Solari as the new president and the right product from Cohn one would soon bring something here. Why does Tina Turner go to Basle and stay away from Locarno' Why do we never see George Clooney in Locarno as he lives in Como'"