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The Locarno Film Festival has appointed Nadia Dresti as interim artistic director following the recent resignation of Lili Hinstin.

Dresti, who has been with the prominent Swiss fest dedicated to indie cinema intermittently for roughly 30 years, is taking the reins after the abrupt departure of Hinstin late last month after two years due to differences with the event’s top management.

Dresti started out in the fest’s press office, and in 2000 was entrusted by its then artistic chief Marco Mueller with launching Locarno’s industry side, which she built into a formidable multi-pronged machine now known as Locarno Pro. She also served as Locarno’s deputy artistic director for two years starting in 2017 during the mandate as artistic director of Carlo Chatrian, who was Hinstin’s predecessor. Chatrian is now artistic director of the Berlinale.

In 2018, Dresti was appointed director of the Ticino Film Commission, and subsequently in early 2020 had stepped down as Locarno Pro chief, taking on a consultant role as Locarno’s international advisor.

Dresti will now leave the Ticino Film Commission post to take up the role of interim head of artistic direction and to run Locarno Pro.

The move by Locarno’s top management to bring Dresti back full-time and have her hold down the fort will ensure continuity and stability at a time when Locarno’s image risked being tarnished.

It will be interesting to see who will be appointed as the fest’s new artistic director. But regardless, having Dresti back in a prominent managerial, and also public relations, role is likely to bolster the fest’s prospects going forward.

This year, after the fest was cancelled due to COVID-19, Locarno launched an innovative initiative to support independent cinema called “Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films.”

Next year’s hopefully physical edition will be crucial in relaunching the fest with new luster.

The 74th edition of Locarno will be held Aug. 4-14, 2021.