Every summer, thousands of film fans and industry professionals meet here to share their thirst for new discoveries and a passion for cinema in all its diversity.
The 65th edition of the Festival del film Locarno opened on Wednesday 1 August with the traditional Welcome Cocktail – attended by Federal Councilor Alain Berset and by Mayor of the City of Locarno and Vice-President of the Festival Carla Speziali, as well as by representatives from cultural institutions and Swiss and Ticino politicians – President Marco Solari and Artistic Director Olivier Père.
Olivier Père Festival, Artistic Director, Photo: TiPress / Carlo Reguzzi
Locarno has a rich, eclectic, surprising, program 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.
The Sweeney introduced by director Nick Love and the actor Ray Winstone.
Of the 19 films in the international competition, 13 are world premieres. Highlights include “Magic Mike” by Steven Soderbergh, “Bachelorette” by Leslye Headland, “No” by Pablo Larraín, and “Ruby Sparks” by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Guests attending the 65th edition include: actors Alain Delon, Charlotte Rampling, Harry Belafonte, Gael García Bernal, Dree Hemingway, Alexandra Maria Lara, Elio Germano, Valerio Mastandrea, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Lizzy Caplan, Eric Cantona, Rachida Brakni, Ornella Muti, Ingrid Caven, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Ray Winstone and Renato Pozzetto, filmmakers Leos Carax, JIA Zhang-ke, Souleymane Cissé, Bertrand Bonello, Krzysztof Zanussi, Claire Denis, Ulrich Seidl, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Roger Avary, the American producer Arnon Milchan and Johnnie To, producer/director from Hong Kong, Italian singer-songwriter Gianni Morandi and Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue.
The Festival has also organized, along with the director and choreographer Daniele Finzi Pasca, a surprise to celebrate the Switzerland’s National 1 August holiday. The Festival del film Locarno will take place 1-11 August and the program includes around three hundred films (fiction, documentary and shorts) from over fifty different countries. In addition to the three official competitions, fifteen tributes to major film figures will enable the audience to discover their work and get a better sense of the artists via screenings and conversations that are open to all. The complete Otto Preminger retrospective will be enhanced by discussions with guests and film critics, a round table and a book published by Capricci about the Hollywood director’s work.
Over eleven evenings the Piazza Grande will welcome major figures from the film world and show fifteen films for the wider audience – most of them world or international premières – introduced by their directors and casts.
In addition, The Festival del film Locarno’s Carte Blanche is focusing on Mexico this year. Carte Blanche offers a showcase for a number of films in postproduction,from a different country in Asia, Africa, Latin America or South-East Europe each year. The initiative is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Thanks to IMCINE, the Mexican Film Institute, seven films in post-production have been chosen for the sophomore edition of Carte Blanche. In the pitching session, on 4 August, participating producers will present clips and pitch their projects to industry professionals. The presentation will be moderated by Leonardo Garcia Tsao, Mexican journalist (La Jornada) and former Director of the Cineteca Nacional México. To facilitate post-production and sales partnerships, the works in progress are screened to film funds, sales companies and festival programmers during Industry Days. A jury composed of three professionals will offer the best film a prize of 10’000 CHF, to be used to complete the film. 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.
Leos Carax, Pardo d’onore Swisscom, PHOTO by Marco Abram