The Locarno Film Festival has announced that it will operate slightly differently next year; in order to abide by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s creation of the Open Door Initiative, it will now showcase films and directors from Southern Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This will be the first major undertaking for Sophie Burdon, who will be hosting the event for the first time.
The policy, which was developed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, will last from 2016 until 2018. The Locarno Film Festival intends to focus its program on a single region “in order to increase and further enhance opportunities for collaboration and exchange for professionals from the region.”
The program’s new revamp is threefold; it includes the Open Doors Hub, Lab and Screenings. Each year, up to eight projects from South Asian countries will be chosen to participate in the Open Doors Hub. The projects’ producers and directors will be able to meet potential co-producers, sales agents and distributors and find funding to make their films. The Open Doors will culminate with an award ceremony worth 50,000 CHF, which will be financed by the Swiss production fund Visions Sud Est (also supported by the SDC) and the City of Bellinzona.
The Open Doors Lab will offer an exclusive program for a small group of professionals from some of the region’s countries, with priority given to emerging producers and filmmakers, possibly with a project in development. These professionals will also benefit from contact and networking with the Festival’s European and international industry guests. In 2016, the Open Doors Lab will concentrate on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.
Lastly, the Open Doors Screenings will present to the Locarno audience a selection of particularly representative films of their cinematic world.
Applications for Open Doors Hub and Open Doors Lab 2016 can be submitted here. The 69th edition of the Festival del film Locarno will be August 3-13, 2016.