Britishproducer Jeremy Thomas will be presented with the Raimondo Rezzonico Prize forindependent producers at this year's Locarno International Film Festival (August 3-13).

Commentingon the selection of the producer of such films as The Last Emperor, The Hitand The Sheltering Sky, Locarno's festival director Irene Bignardi said:"Jeremy is one of those producers who is also involved in bigger projectsbut always manages to keep his independence and identity as a producer."

Alsoconfirmed for this year's programme is a retrospective of the work of OrsonWelles to coincide with the anniversary of his birth.

Curatedby the Munich Film Museum's Stefan Droessler in cooperation with BernardUhlmann of the Swiss National Film Archive in Lausanne, the homage will featureWelles' completed works in top quality prints as well as his legendaryunfinished masterpieces.

Thethird edition of Locarno's Open Doors programme will be dedicated to theMaghreb nations of Arab North Africa: Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. A showcaseof films from the area will be shown, alongside a workshop day for Maghrebifilm-makers to network with their counterparts in Europe with the aim offinding co-producers for planned film projects.

Meanwhile,Africa will be the focus of part of the Leopards of Tomorrow sidebar with aselection of shorts by young filmmakers from Egypt and Southern Africa.

Accordingto the organisers, the 2005 Leopards programme "will be subdivided intotwo distinct sections - competition and retrospective - paying tribute to acontinental film movement that is complex and multi-faceted."

Newto this year's festival is a short films script competition called Cortopardoon the subject of "Dreaming of/at the Cinema". A jury has alreadyselected three finalists for their originality and creativity, and the firstwill be ready for presentation at the 2005 festival in August.