The concept of "passage" - historical, geographical and personal - is the common theme running through the International Competition line-up for the Locarno International Film Festival (August 6-16), according to festival organisers.

This year, 19 of the 20 competition films are world premieres - and come from 17 different countries. The festival has also remained true to its brief to seek out new voices and new auteurs by selecting eight first features and four second features for the Competition.

Highly anticipated films include the world premiere of Kim Ki-duk's Spring Summer Fall Winter, Ora O Mai Piu by Italy's Lucio Pellegrini, Choker Bali by India's Rituparno Ghosh which stars Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai, and the world premiere of Masahiro Kobayashi's The Hairdresser (Onna Rihatsushi No Koi).

While the 2002 line-up saw four titles representing the US - Gus van Sant's Gerry, Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo, Steven Shainberg's Secretary and Rebecca Miller's Personal Velocity - the 2003 selection only has Catherine Hardwicke's feature debut Thirteen, which is also the competition's sole international premiere, and the Bolivian-US co-production Sexual Dependency (Dependicia Sexual) by Rodrigo Bellott.

Meanwhile, the nightly open air programme on Locarno's Piazza Grande main town square will kick off with Vincente Minnelli's 1953 film The Band Wagon to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth and feature world premieres of such films as Nigel Cole's The Calendar Girls, Soenke Wortmann's The Miracle Of Bern, and Rajat Kapoor's Raghu Romeo.

In addition, special screenings will be made of George Cukor's 1938 film Holiday, Casanova and Pane E Cioccolata as tributes to the late Katherine Hepburn, Federico Fellini and Franco Brusati, respectively, as well as of Raining Stones for this year's Leopard of Honour recipient Ken Loach.

The complete line-up for the International Competition is as follows:

16 Years Of Alcohol by Richard Jobson - UK
Au Sud Des Nuages by Jean-François Amiguet - Switzerland
Spring Summer Fall Winter''And Spring by Kim Ki-duk - South Korea
Free Radicals (Bose Zellen) by Barbara Albert - Austria
Chokher Bali by Rituparno Ghosh - India
Tiny Snowflakes (Danehaye Rize Barf) by Ali-Reza Amini - Iran
Sexual Dependency (Dependencia Sexual) by Rodrigo Bellott- Bolivia/USA
Fuse (Gori Vatra) by Pjer Zalica - Bosnia/Herzegovina
Silent Waters (Khamosh Pani) by Sabiha Sumar - Pakistan/France/German
Little Men (Maneken Pil) by Nariman Turebayev -Kazakistan / France
Maria by Calin Netzer - Romania
Les Marins Perdus by Claire Devers - France
Mister V by Emilie Deleuze - France
The Hairdresser (Onna Rihatsushi No Koi) by Masahiro Kobayashi - Japan
Ora O Mai Piu by Lucio Pellegrini - Italy
Thirteen by Catherine Hardwicke - USA
Il Vestito Da Sposa by Fiorella Infascelli - Italy
Violence Des Echanges En Milieu Tempere by Jean-Marc Moutout - France
The Return (Vozvrasenie) by Andrey Zvyagintsev - Russia -