Home Hollywood The 75th Locarno Film Festival Returns to Pre-Pandemic Glory – The Hollywood...

The 75th Locarno Film Festival Returns to Pre-Pandemic Glory – The Hollywood Reporter


On August 23, 1946, just a few months after the first Cannes Film Festival, the first Locarno International Film Festival opened with a screening of Giacomo Gentilomo’s classics of Italian neorealism oh my sun.

From the outset, the festival has been designed to represent the full spectrum of films, presenting what current festival managing director Raphaël Brunschwig calls the “culture of a thousand faces”.

The 75th Locarno Festival will be held from August 3 to 13, upholding these first principles. Perhaps more than any other major A-list festival, Locarno has bridged the divide between mainstream Hollywood and experimental avant-garde filmmaking.

Locarno 2022 will be with Brad Pitt action thriller world premiere bullet train Depend on deadpool 2 helmer David Leitch, who returns to Locarno after the 2017 screening Atomic Blonde. This year’s event also includes evening screenings Medusa Deluxe Edition, British director Thomas Hardiman’s British murder mystery set in competitive hairdressing world; Anna Gutto’s road thriller paradise highway, starring Juliette Binoche and Morgan Freeman; and Olivia Newman, the highly anticipated where crayfish sing, A mystery thriller starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and David Strathairn.

Everyone will enjoy the old European treatment in Locarno, with outdoor screenings on the famous Piazza Grande, a stunning open-air venue in the heart of the old town and the most classic way to see a movie almost anywhere in the world.

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Brad Pitt in Bullet Train, 2022.

Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

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Paradise Highway

Courtesy of Lionsgate

Fans of the Art House will also be satisfied.Most of the discoveries and surprises in Locarno this year are likely to be found in the festival’s main competition section, which will feature 17 world premieres, including the latest films by famous masters such as Aleksander Sokurov (Russian-Belgian drama) fairy tale), Patricia Mazuy (French police drama) Bowling Saturn), Iraqi-French filmmaker Abbas Fahder (documentary The Legend of Purple House), Nikolaus Geyrhalter of Austria (Environmental Documentation inappropriate things), Ming Zhenyu (partially animated Malaysian TV series stone turtle), Azerbaijani director Hilal Bedarov (the play Sermon to fish).

Up-and-coming helmsmen vying for the Golden Leopard include Germany’s Helena Wittmann, whose drama flower of human flesh Will be screened in the match; Carlos Conceiçao, war drama with Portugal-France-Angola in Locarno tommy gun; and Italy’s Alessandro Comodin, with a documentary at the Swiss Film Festival Gigi’s Adventure.

“Film festivals celebrate the talents of those involved in making films – they provide a creative hub for networking and exchange, keep the industry alive, and professional opportunities for aspiring filmmakers and producers, they allow small Films are discovered and promoted,” said Giona A. Nazzaro, Locarno’s artistic director, noting that “over 3,000 films” were submitted for consideration at this year’s festival. “The main challenge is always to be fair to those who submit their work and to focus on providing the best selection possible while maintaining a dialogue among the members of the selection committee.”

Locarno’s recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award – including horror film producer Jason Bloom (go out, halloween), first cow and Appear Director Kelly Reichardt, experimental musician and artist-director Laurie Anderson and political film pioneer Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing) — reflecting the festival’s inclusive spirit, celebrating films from the most avant-garde experiments to the most subversive Hollywood genres.

Nazzaro, who served as the general representative of the international film critic Zhou at the Venice Film Festival and a member of the Rotterdam International Film Festival Art Committee, pointed out that Locarno “has its own identity — [it’s] An edgy cutting edge festival with a strong classicist vibe and a lineup that offers discoveries and surprises. “

Locarno’s idyllic location next to the scenic northern shore of Lake Maggiore, surrounded by the Swiss Alps, is barely immune to the ravages of COVID-19. Like international film festivals around the world, Locarno has been forced to rethink everything during the pandemic, moving most of its events online in 2020, with only a handful of physical screenings in local theaters.

2021 is an in-person event, but the festival offers an online service for industry professionals who cannot travel to the event.

This year, Locarno, which had already gone through a digital process before the pandemic, will continue to do so in a hybrid model. While brick-and-mortar events remain central, organizers are sticking with some pandemic-focused digital services, including Locarno Pro Online, an online industry initiative designed to support director films.

Locarno Pro Online is custom-made for the international art establishment industry, offering sales agents, distributors, exhibitors, producers and filmmakers a variety of services, including First Look, a section that showcases films at any post-production stage, and Heritage Online, a year-round database where streamers and potential buyers can watch available titles and access rights holders directly.

“[Before the pandemic hit] Festivals and markets are already exploring digital solutions and hybrid models, which could be a valuable asset in the future, although in-person business remains critical to the film industry,” said Markus Duffner, head of Locarno Pro. “We will maintain Our Locarno Pro Online structure allows those unable to come to Locarno to follow some of our activities and services. This is an opportunity to expand our reach beyond Locarno and Switzerland, but also to propose some services and events throughout the year. “

Nazzaro noted that the pandemic has not caused the current disruption in the indie industry: “The perception of film and the cinema itself is changing dramatically [before] But somehow it feels like they can continue on the same pattern forever,” he said. “These two years didn’t spark changes, they just accelerated what had already happened. COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the transformation of film production and distribution that was underway prior to 2019. “

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Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival.

Courtesy of Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press / Massimo Pedrazzini

Known for its avant-garde festival reputation, Locarno wants to stay ahead of future trends. The latest initiative launched this year is the Locarno Green Project, which aims to raise awareness of environmentally friendly filmmaking. As part of this, Locarno will present the inaugural Pardo Verde WWF, launched in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, which will recognize a film that best reflects or raises awareness of important ecological issues.Also in the pipeline is the Green Film Fund, which aims to support projects dealing with environmental issues, and is scheduled to launch next year.

“Cultural events like Locarno can generate, nurture and disseminate new perspectives by inspiring films and filmmakers who respect the ecosystem and tell new stories that raise public awareness,” Brunswig noted. “At this moment, we need to rethink our approach and find new tools to meet future challenges.”

Locarno is also targeting young filmmakers trying to break into the industry. Launched this year, Locarno Residency aims to help first-time filmmakers under the age of 40 complete their premieres. Locarno’s artistic team selected ten participants based on submitted film projects and their career profiles to date, who will participate in the 75th edition of the festival from August 4th to 7th, and will be joined by three film industry professionals. A jury of individuals discusses their feature film ideas. The jury will select three projects from the top 10 – two international and one Swiss. The three filmmakers will each receive extensive coaching, including online and in-person classes, for a year, as well as coaching on their featured therapy. Taking place in Venice from December 5th to 18th, the second script conference will run until March 2023 at the Elanos Foundation in Locarno.

“Locarno has always been known as the freest and most innovative festival [filmmakers] roll out. Therefore, it is important to stand on the side of young people at a time of major changes in the production landscape. [filmmakers],” said Daniela Persico, the Locarno programmer of the initiative. “In contrast to other development programs, we thought of a project tailored to the three candidates who will receive scholarships for the final year. The aim is to get them into the final stages of project writing and to make their production structures stronger by engaging with our industry projects through targeted sessions at the festival. “

But on its diamond anniversary, Locarno hopes to return to its pre-pandemic glory and its unique balance between mainstream and independent. While the festival’s industry focus leans toward arts institutions, Perciso notes that Locarno’s unique location also provides a one-of-a-kind launch pad for studio releases. “Because we’re a real audience festival,” he said. “There’s no better metric than 8,000 seats [in the Piazza Grande] Open air and feel how the movie works. “

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