The Deer Hunter director will be feted with a Pardo d'onore accolade and he will be on hand for a rare onstage conversation.

Festival director Carlo Chatrain says, "I am very honoured to be able to welcome Michael Cimino and I am sure that his presence will be a great stimulus for the many viewers and young filmmakers attending Locarno.

"As enduring and majestic as the granite of the American mountains with which he has often surrounded his characters, his films have left their mark on my own trajectory as a viewer, and I feel it is important to show them at a festival which aims to be a bridge between cultures, ears, styles. In this respect Cimino's poetics are timeless, both classical and modern at the same time."

Previous recipients of the award include Ken Loach, Sidney Pollack and Werner Herzog.