Tiziana Finzi, who has spent the last nine years at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, serving as deputy director for the last three years, has been named director of the Miami International Film Festival in Florida, US. She will officially begin at the festival, which is held under the aegis of Miami Dade College, on Dec 1, 2008.

The Italian-born Finzi is a festival veteran with more than 20 years' experience in programming and coordination. At Locarno, she led the renaissance of the sections Cineastes Du Present (Contemporary Filmmakers), Competition Video and visual arts programme In Progress.

Prior to Locarno, she was a programmer at the Venice Film Festival from 1995 to 1999 and head of programming for the Pesaro and Taormina film festivals in 1999. She has also acted as a consultant and curator for several international film festivals and institutions such as Italia Cinema and the Trieste Film Festival.

Finzi takes over from Patrick De Bokay, who spent just one year at Miami. De Bokay was preceded by Nicole Guillemet, who led the event for five years.

'I am looking forward to building on the great successes of the first quarter century of The Miami International Film Festival so that we can chart a course for the next 25 years that will expand the art of film to new audiences and, more importantly, the role of film as an educational tool,' said Finzi. 'I am extremely pleased such a respected festival is housed in such a renowned academic institution. This unique arrangement makes the possibilities endless. I also look forward to connecting with greater Miami's dynamic community.'

'On behalf of the Miami Dade College family, I welcome Tiziana to our dynamic college and our unparalleled community,' stated Dr. Eduardo J. Padron, president of Miami Dade College. 'I know her strong film programming background and emphasis on education will serve the Festival very well and continue expanding its international profile.'

Finzi's language skills - she speaks six, including Spanish - will no doubt come in useful at the festival which has a special focus on Ibero-American cinema appropriate to Miami's particular geographic and cultural position in the Latin American world.

Last year, more than 75,000 people attended the festival which screened over 250 films and hosted more than 350 guests. Next year's festival, the 26th annual event, will take place March 6-15.