Thursday, August 11, 2011


Press Release

The Festival del film Locarno 
3-13 August 2011

Throughout its 64 year history, the Festival del film Locarno has occupied a unique position in the landscape of the major film festivals. Every August, for eleven days the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno, right in the heart of Europe, becomes the world capital of auteur cinema. Thousands of film fans and industry professionals meet here every summer to share their thirst for new discoveries and a passion for cinema in all its diversity. At Locarno they find a quality programme, rich, eclectic, surprising, and where emerging talent rubs shoulders with prestigious guests. The audience is the soul of the Festival, as exemplified in the famous evenings on the Piazza Grande, whose magical setting can accommodate up to 8,000 filmgoers every night.

Geographically located at the crossroads of three great European regions, (Italian, German and French), Locarno is, precisely because of its enormous and multi-cultural audience, a unique launch platform for new films from all over the world. Thus for industry professionals Locarno is an unmissable rendezvous and a landmark in the festival calendar: an invaluable meeting-place, and opportunity to unearth the gems from a challenging selection of world premières, to take the pulse of new tendencies, and explore new terrain opening up in contemporary cinema.

The Locarno Touch: A Unique Experience

Located on the banks of Lake Maggiore at the foot of the Alps, the medieval town of Locarno welcomes festival-goers to a truly idyllic setting. The delegations accompanying invited films, distinguished guests and industry professionals all appreciate the event’s relaxed and convivial atmosphere, where the dolce vita combines with professionalism, seriousness and quality of service. At Locarno, the whole town participates in the festival; and the festival thrives on the energy generated by so many festival encounters.

Filmmakers, actors and producers accompany the première of their film and meet Locarno’s exceptionally cinephile and eager audience at riveting Q & A sessions. The film and cultural personalities who are invited enjoy a pleasant stay, the human warmth of the festival, and inter-action with an audience full of respect and passion for film, with whom they engage during the traditional must-see masterclasses that are open to all. And, far removed from the usual stress, industry professionals from all over the world find conditions here that are ideal for productive networking, whether at the various workshops or the informal happy hours organised by the Industry Office. Enhanced by such exchanges, and determined to maintain its integrity, the Festival del film Locarno, totally dedicated to cinema and those who make it, is a truly pleasurable experience.

A Cutting Edge Festival

Founded in 1946, the Festival del film Locarno is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, alongside Venice and Cannes. Created as a festival aiming to discover new talent and new trends, Locarno has established itself on the international scene, as an invaluable launch-pad for the new generation in world cinema. Locarno has often spotted, before many others have done so, the genius of young directors from all over the world – sometimes from their very first short films – who have subsequently established themselves as the major filmmakers of their generation: examples include Claude Chabrol, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Verhoeven, Milos Forman, Marco Bellocchio, Glauber Rocha, Raul Ruiz, Alain Tanner, Mike Leigh, Bela Tarr, Chen Kaige, Edward Yang, Aleksander Sokurov, Atom Egoyan, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Gregg Araki, Catherine Breillat, Abbas Kiarostami, Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa, Fatih Akin, Claire Denis, Kim Ki-Duk, and many others.

The event has succeeded in remaining faithful to its vocation. With an illustrious history behind it, and resolutely facing the future, the Festival del film Locarno is, now more than ever, synonymous with discovery and innovation. Attentive to all the developments in contemporary cinema, in a ceaseless quest for the most innovative productions of the moment, the Festival is renowned for its programming, that is both open-minded and demanding, with many world and international premières. From studio blockbusters to total indies, from genre films to experimental cinema, and the best documentaries and shorts, the Locarno selection sets the benchmark by presenting, every year, the major auteurs of today and tomorrow.

Guide to the program

The Locarno Festival comprises a dozen different sections, open to all genres and formats. The famous Piazza Grande presents magical open-air screenings in a totally unique setting to an audience of 8,000 people. The Festival has two competitions for feature films (the International Competition and the Filmmakers of the Present Competition – starting 2010 the latter is dedicated to first and second features), as well as two for short films (Swiss and international, in the Leopards of Tomorrow section). There is also the traditional retrospective (after the Nanni Moretti sidebar in 2008 and the 2009 Manga Impact program, in 2010 it will be dedicated to Ernst Lubitsch, the master of comedy), and the Open Doors co-production lab – this year focused on Central Asia, with its professional dimension and screenings open to the general public.

In addition, the Locarno Festival hosts two independent sections: the stimulating selection of documentaries in Semaine de la critique/Critics’ Week, and Appellations Suisse, a review of the best films produced in Switzerland during the past year. 

Finally, every year, numerous special events, exhibitions and round table discussions complement the extensive programme, and of course there are the special awards made to our guests of honour, such as the Leopard of Honour (in 2010 awarded to Swiss film director Alain Tanner), the Excellence Award and the Raimondo Rezzonico Prize that pay tribute, respectively, to exceptional filmmakers, actors and producers.


Source: Festival Del Film Locarno, Getty Images

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