William Friedkin to be feted in Locarno

To receive the Festival's Leopard of Honor

ROME -- Director William Friedkin, best known for his 1973 horror masterpiece "The Exorcist" and five-time Oscar winner for "The French Connection" two years earlier, will be presented with the Locarno Film Festival's Leopard of Honor, festival organizers said Thursday.

Friedkin, 73, will be on hand to host the Piazza Grande screening of "To Live and Die in L.A.," his 1985 drama that stars Willem Dafoe, who won a Leopard of Honor in 2006. Friedkin will also participate in a Master Class, which is open to the public.

In addition to his work in film -- Friedkin has directed 18 films to date -- he has dedicated much of the last decade to opera, and is currently working on a production of Puccini's classic "La Fanciulla del West."

The 62nd edition of the picturesque Swiss lakeside festival will take place this year Aug. 5-15.