The 23rd Mar del Plata Film Festival, which takes place in Mar del Plata, Argentina from Nov. 6-16, has announced that the festival will open with Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq bomb squad movie The Hurt Locker with Bigelow and writer Mark Boal in attendance.

Latin America's only FIAPF classified A-level festival will screen 388 features and shorts, closing with Kim Ki Duk's Breath.

A jury composed of actress/director Sarah Polley (Canada), director Peter Lilienthal (Germany), film-maker Pedro Olea (Spain), DoP Yu Lik Wai (Hong Kong), director Israel Adrian Caetano (Uruguay) and local film critic David Oubina will award the main prizes from a selection of 16 films in the international competition.

In his first year as festival president, 84 year-old film-maker Jose Martinez Suarez said he is proud to present 'an impressive list of 14 local films in world premieres during the 11-day event'.

Newly appointed artistic director Fernando Martin Pena, who ran the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film (BAFICI) for three years until 2007, has selected the latest films by auteurs such as Takeshi Kitano, Olivier Assayas, Terence Davies, Agnes Varda, Abel Ferrara, Jia Zhang-ke, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Werner Schroeter, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Jerzy Skolimowski.

This year's festival focus and retrospectives are dedicated to Jorge Luis Borges, Jean-Pierre Melville, Bolivian director Jorge Sanjines, Polish cinema from the 50s and 60s, classic Argentinian comedies, new American independent films and Portuguese movies, among others.

Mar del Plata will also stage its international film market, Inter Cine from Nov. 9-13. The event will bring together local and foreign buyers, distributors and producers and will include specialist-led talks on sales rights, international festivals, co-productions and financing.