Frederic Maire exiting Locarno film fest

Will depart next year for Swiss Film Archive

ROME -- Frederic Maire's days at the helm of the Locarno Film Festival will draw to a close next year, when he will depart to take over the governing board of the Swiss Film Archive, Locarno announced Monday.

Maire, who will direct his third Locarno festival in August, will take over the Lausanne-based film archive from film historian Herve Dumont in late 2009, after completing his fourth Locarno festival. The long buildup to the move will give Locarno extra time to find a replacement for Maire.

"I regret having to leave Locarno, but the pressing invitation from the film archive and the understanding attitude of the festival president (Marco Solari) convinced me that this decision, though difficult, was the right one," said Maire, the first Swiss director of the venerable Locarno event in 20 years.

Solari added: "I'm sorry he's leaving us; Frederic Maire made his mark on Locarno."

This year's Locarno event, the 61st, is set for Aug. 6-16.