A jaw-dropping pageant of international stars is set to take the desert air at the forthcoming Marrakech International Film Festival (Sept 18-22) in Morocco.

David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Catherine Deneuve, Edward Yang, Constantin Costa Gavras, Monica Bellucci, Patrice Leconte, Elodie Bouchez and Irene Jacob are scheduled as guests at the second running of the event, which is organised under the personal patronage of Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Prince Moulay Rachid is president of the festival with Daniel Toscan Du Plantier its artistic director.

Jeanne Moreau will head a competition jury that also includes Moroccan poet and philosopher Abdellatif Laabi, Yang, Karen Mok, Anna Levine Thomson, Thomas Kretschmann, Patricia Velasquez, Pascal Greggory, Christophe Lambert, Josee Dayan and Nabil Ayoush. Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli will head the short films jury.

The festival, dedicated to the promotion of tolerance through the open exchange of ideas and experience, was dealt a cruel blow last year when the tragic events of Sept 11 meant that many stars were unwilling or unable to travel to an Arab country.

As part of its programme to improve international understanding French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy will chair a seminar on "The Power and Accountability of Film." Panelists will include Scorsese, Chantal Akerman, Costa-Gavras, Elia Suleiman, Amos Gitai, Claude Lanzmann, Youssef Chahine, Krzysztof Zanussi and Patrice Chereau.

While the competition line-up has yet to be announced the festival is planning a tribute to Lynch.