Locarno Film Festival managed a positive performance in terms of both audience participation – online and in theaters – and international attention from professionals across the sector and worldwide
The Locarno 2020 hybrid edition was planned as a concrete response to the difficulties facing the film industry as a result of the pandemic. An edition born out of the global crisis which forced the Locarno Film Festival to reinvent itself for 2020.
Locarno Film Festival is one of the world’s longest-running annual film festivals and focuses on auteur cinema.
Two female gazes, stretching from Switzerland to Argentina, have won the Pardi 2020 awards – each worth 70,000 Swiss francs – for productions halted by the COVID-19 crisis. The international jury for The Films After Tomorrow – made up of Nadav Lapid, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Kelly Reichardt – picked out Chocobar, by acclaimed Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, a political documentary that takes its cue from the murder in 2009 of land rights activist Javier Chocobar to investigate aspects of colonization and native culture.
In the international selection the Campari Award, a special jury prize worth 50,000 Swiss francs, went to the film Selvajaria (Savagery) by Miguel Gomes, freely adapted from the novel Rebellion in the Backlands by Euclides da Cunha, an account of the late 19th century military campaign of the newly formed Brazilian Republic against the tiny settlement of Canudos. The Swatch Award for the most innovative project (30,000 Swiss francs) was won by De Humani Corporis Fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body) by Verena Paravel and Lucien-Castaing Taylor, a political and philosophical documentary on the delicate issues of bioethics raised by new technologies in medicine.
President Marco Solari said: “Our main objectives have been achieved. Thanks to the projects developed by the Artistic Director, the Chief Operating Officer and their teams, we have managed to send out a clear message of solidarity with the film industry. Putting our programming online has been a huge incentive for digitalization of the Festival. Lastly, with the re-opening of three movie theaters, we have consolidated our rapport with the local public.”
Artistic Director Lili Hinstin, who in this second year of her mandate developed the basic concept of Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, commented: “It has also made us reflect about the future of the cinema, because it showed that screenings in theaters and VOD or streaming are not necessarily in conflict, but can co-exist together, with both experiences encouraging viewers to discover films away from the usual mainstream track.”
Chief operating officer Raphael Brunschwig said the COVID-19 crisis had sped up the move towards going online and Locarno hopes to become “the model of a film festival that looks to the future”. During the August 5-15 festival, some 5,950 people saw films in Locarno indoor cinemas reopened after the coronavirus lockdown.
But 320,000 visits were made to the festival’s digital platform, where full length movies, short films, masterclasses, panel discussions and talks were made available online. This included 80,000 views of films screened and original festival content.
The 74th Locarno Film Festival will take place from 4 to 14 August 2021. The complete list of award winners is as follows:
The Films After Tomorrow – International selection
The jury for the international selection, made up of Nadav Lapid, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Kelly Reichardt, awarded the following prizes:
Pardo 2020: for the production of the film, to the best international project (70,000 Swiss francs)
CHOCOBAR by Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/USA/Denmark/Mexico
Campari Award: special jury prize (50,000 Swiss francs)
SELVAJARIA (Savagery) by Miguel Gomes, Portugal/France/Brazil/ Chine/Greece
Swatch Award: for the most innovative project (30,000 Swiss francs) and the opportunity to design a limited-edition Swatch which will be the official watch of Locarno74
DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA (The Fabric of the Human Body) by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
The Films After Tomorrow – Swiss selection
The jury for the Swiss selection, made up of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Alina Marazzi and Matías Piñeiro, awarded the following prizes:
Pardo 2020: for the production of the film, to the best Swiss project (70,000 Swiss francs)
ZAHORÍ by Marí Alessandrini, Switzerland/Argentina/Chile/France
SRG SSR Award: promotional television campaign worth 100,000 Swiss francs for a Swiss project, guaranteeing publicity on national networks to accompany theatrical release in Switzerland
LUX by Raphaël Dubach and Mateo Ybarra, Switzerland
Pardi di domani
The Pardi di domani jury, made up of Kiri Dalena, Mamadou Dia and Claudette Godfrey, awarded the following prizes:
Pardino d’oro SRG SSR for the best international short film (10,000 Swiss francs)
I RAN FROM IT AND WAS STILL IN IT by Darol Olu Kae, USA
Pardino d’argento SRG SSR for an international short film (5,000 Swiss francs)
HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION by Zhannat Alshanova, Kazakhstan
Medien Patent Verwaltung AG Prize, sponsored by Medien Patent Verwaltung AG, in the form of subtitling in three central European languages
THIÊN ĐƯỜNG GỌI TÊN (A Trip to Heaven) by Linh Duong, Vietnam/Singapore
LIFE ON THE HORN by Mo Harawe, Somalia/Austria/Germany Swiss Competition
Pardino d’oro Swiss Life for the best Swiss short film (10,000 Swiss francs)
MENSCHEN AM SAMSTAG (People on Saturday) by Jonas Ulrich, Switzerland (Locarno Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards)
Pardino d’argento Swiss Life for a Swiss short film (5,000 Swiss francs)
TROU NOIR (Black Hole) by Tristan Aymon, Switzerland
Best Swiss Newcomer Prize, consisting of equipment and services offered by Cinegrell, Freestudios and Taurus Studio
LACHSMÄNNER (Salmon Men) by Veronica L. Montaño, Manuela Leuenberger, Joel Hofmann, Switzerland
Valentina Merli and her team has put together a programme that would benefit the local Swiss film industry as well as global independent filmmakers
The Locarno Film Festival’s Locarno Pro industry side will have a strong virtual presence from August 5-11 offering opportunities for discussion, professional meetings on co-production and screenings to film industry professionals as a clear signal that the pandemic will continue to bring industry professionals under one umbrella. The 73rd Locarno Festival will take place from 5 to 15 August 2020.
Locarno Pro 2020 will be a virtual territory of meetings, exchanges and growth for auteur film professionals. “Industry professionals across the world will get to meet online and work towards a fresh start. The Locarno 2020 – for the Future of Films is a special edition, due to the Covid-19 situation, to continue to support and help independent cinema from all over the world. This is also what we want to do with Locarno Pro. It is important for us to maintain the presence in difficult moments,” says Valentina Merli, head of Locarno Pro.
This is the first market for Valentina Merli as head of Locarno Pro. She has taken over from Nadia Dresti, who continues to work with the Locarno Festival as a Festival’s International Advisor.
Valentina Merli and her team has put together a programme that would benefit the local Swiss film industry as well as global independent filmmakers. “We think that being online allow us to have a wider international professional audience, this is its main advantage,” says Valentina Merli in a Zoom chat with Pickle.
Locarno Pro will aim to enhance and deepen connections between the diverse players across the world. For seven days from August 5 to 11, Locarno Pro will propose initiatives and events that will accompany the industry in examining an undoubtedly difficult year, while seeking to develop ideas and proposals with an eye to the future, thus contributing to the overarching mission of Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films.
Locarno Pro 2020 has also given Valentina Merli and her team an opportunity to think out of the box and reinvent activities. They have moved beyond discussing Covid-19 impact, but bring some visible changes to cinema, industry professionals and filmmakers.
Major highlights of Locarno Pro 2020 includes the ninth edition of the annual think-tank meeting StepIn; a roundtable to mark the launch of Locarno’s Heritage Online initiative; the SwissBiz Roundtable, aimed at the local film industry; and the Open Doors co-production platform and producers Lab.
“Heritage Online is a digital tool that extends the outreach and distribution of Heritage Films through VoD (Video on Demand), thereby significantly expanding the range of titles offered by such services,” explained Valentina Merli.
StepIn is one of the most renowned international think tanks imagining and discussing the way forward for the film industry. The virtual event will be hosted this year in the Variety Streaming Room, consisting of three 50-minute sessions taking place during the first three days of Locarno Pro (5-7 August, each starting at 5 pm Central European Time). These will deal, respectively, with the future of the theatrical distribution, the state of independent film production, and the future of film festivals and markets.
Each session will be moderated by key journalists from Variety and will involve top international speakers from varied sectors of the film industry, such as, to name a few: Producer Rodrigo Teixeira (‘Call Me By Your Name’, ‘Port Authority’); NEON’s President of Distribution Elissa Federoff; Film4’s Director Daniel Battsek; Director/Writer Kasi Lemmons (‘Harriet’); Marche du Cannes’ Executive Director Jérôme Paillard; and important Film Festival Directors such as Alberto Barbera (Venice Film Festival), Lili Hinstin (Locarno Film Festival) and Tabitha Jackson (Sundance Film Festival).
The SwissBiz Roundtable will bring local Swiss cinema professionals together on August 10 for a discussion on the challenges facing the film sector in the aftermath of corona virus pandemic and way forward. This roundtable will offer professionals in the Swiss film industry an analysis of this delicate historical moment in order to understand the trajectories and strategies that can help keep alive national auteur cinema. Five players of the Swiss industry moderated by Pascaline Sordet (Cinébulletin) will intervene as speakers: Joel Fioroni (Exhibitor, LUX art house), Andreas Furler (Founder and Managing Director, Cinefile), Karin Koch (Producer, Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion), Jela Škerlak (Head of Exhibition and Diversity and Eurimages Representative, Federal Office of Culture (FOC)), Thierry Spicher (Distributor, Outside The Box).
The Locarno Pro 2020 program has been supported by the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) / MEDIA Desk Suisse and the collaboration of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for the Open Doors section.
The 73rd Locarno Film Festival is reinventing its 2020 edition and has developed a new initiative, The Films After Tomorrow, aimed at supporting projects that aim to help filmmakers (10 international and 10 Swiss filmmakers) who had their projects put on hold because of Coronavirus pandemic. Locarno managed to raise $220,000 of prize money for The Films After Tomorrow initiative.
FilMart Hong Kong August 26-29
Amid lockdown and travel restrictions, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has decided to migrate the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) to a virtual platform. FILMART Online will take place from August 26-29 and Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum will take place from August 26-28. The virtual FILMART will enable buyer-seller meets, showcase content and seminars.
Venice International Film Festival Venice, Italy September 2-12
The 77th Venice International Film Festival will be a toned down physical festival. Around 50 films will be part of official selection on July 28. The main competition, Venezia 77, will feature approximately 20 films. All other titles in official selection will debut either in Out of Competition or Horizons sections. Venice Gap Financing Market will happen in virutal format.
Toronto International Film Festival & Market Canada September 10-20
The 45th edition of Toronto International Film Festival will take place September 10–19 with socially distanced screenings, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks. For the first time, TIFF will launch a digital platform, affording new opportunities to connect with audiences beyond Toronto. TIFF has partnered with Shift72 to develop this platform to host screenings and events.
Moscow International Film Festival Moscow October 1-8
The 42nd edition of Moscow International Film Festival, Russia’s main international film event, is scheduled to run October 1-8. The objective is to promote cultural exchanges and mutual understanding among nations and to develop further cooperation among filmmakers of the world. It is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Federation and the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow.
MipJunior JW Marriott, Cannes, France October 10-11
MIPJunior 2020 will push beyond physical boundaries with its first ONLINE+ Digital Hybrid Edition. MIPJunior gathers the most influential buyers, commissioners, producers, development executives and distributors from the global Kids TV industry. MIPJunior is the perfect destination for producers to stand out and for buyers to discover the latest kids programming before sealing partnerships at MIPCOM.
MipCom Cannes, France October 12-15
MIPCOM 2020 will push beyond physical bounaries with its first ONLINE+ Digital Hybrid Edition. MIPCOM is the world’s largest exhibition of studios and distributors, as well as the top showcase for content across all genres and platforms. A world-class market place where leading professionals gather to promote hit-defining content, strike distribution and co-production deals and network face-to-face with creative forces.
American Film Market Santa Monica, California November 9-13
The American Film Market will bring its 2020 edition online, said the Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®). AFM 2020 Online will run from November 9 to November 13. This year will be the 41st market. “AFM 2020 Online will give global film community opportunities that are always critical to our success,” said Michael Ryan, Chairman, IFTA and Partner, GFM Films.
IFFI Goa, India November 20-28
Preparations for 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) have begun. Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its pre-eminent position as a showcase of cinematic excellence. It has remained steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema The festival will take place in limited physical and online format.