With less than a week to go beforeLocarno's board makes a decision on the successor to Irene Bignardi as thefestival's artistic director, the news on the festival grapevine is that thechoice will be between two names: Jean Perret, director of the Nyon DocumentaryFilm Festival "Visions du Reel", and Frederic Maire, organiser of thecinema education initiative Laterna Magica.

Perret has served as festivaldirector in Nyon since 1995 after having previously been the delegate generalfor the Critics Week sidebar in Locarno between 1990-1994. Frederic Maire alsoworked in the past for Locarno as press attache with responsibility for tradepress and was one of the founders in 1992 of the Magic Latern network of filmclubs throughout Switzerland for primary school age children . The network nowhas clubs in 66 towns in Switzerland and the model has been expanded to othercountries in Europe.

At the weekend, Nicolas Bideau, theincoming head of the film section at the Federal Office of Culture (BAK), alsoentered the debate on the future artistic director in an interview with theSwiss daily newspaper Trbune de Geneve.

Asked if he would see a French Swissas successor to Bignardi, he replied: "Personally, I don't give a damn. Itdoesn't matter to me whether [the successor] is French Swiss or not, Europeanor not. Ideally, I would like Locarno to become the European Sundance."

The festival's administrative boardwill meet next Sunday (August 14), a day after the end of the 58th edition, totake a decision on the post of artistic director.