Herzog, an eclectic director, writer, producer and actor, is best known for his many documentaries, including “My Best Fiend,” “Grizzly Man” and “Encounters at the End of the World,” which was nominated for an Oscar in 2009. His documentary films often feature a steady stream of meditative and sometimes tangential narration recorded by the director himself.
In a press release, the festival’s artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, praised Herzog’s versatility of genre and production value:
“Over the course of his long career, Herzog has proved adept at moving between fiction and documentary, low-budget productions and films featuring major stars but without ever losing a clear sense of identity. If awards are not only recognitions but also a way of signaling the future, I think that Werner Herzog is the most appropriate person to signpost the way forward the Festival wishes to take. A notion of cinema as an act that both involves and radically affects those who make it and those who see it.”
The Pardo d’onore (Italian for ‘Leopard of Honor’) is a lifetime achievement award the Locarno festival has given out since 1989; previous winners include Bernardo Bertolucci, Abbas Kiarostami, Sydney Pollack and, last year, Leos Carax. Since 2009, the award has been sponsored by Swisscom, a telecommunications firm.
In addition to an awards ceremony that will take place in Locarno’s Piazza Grande, the festival will screen 10 of Herzog’s films, including “Even Dwarves Started Small,” “Fizcarraldo,” and “Grizzly Man.” Herzog will also take part in a public Q&A with Grazia Paganelli, who co-authored a study of the German filmmaker.
This year’s Locarno Film Festival, the 66th, will take place from August 7-17.