- LOCARNO, Switzerland
Due to the ongoing pandemic and Swiss government restrictions, the Locarno Film Festival will not be held this year. Its 73rd edition was scheduled to run Aug. 5-15. But rather than opt for an online iteration of the fest as an alternative, organizers have launched an initiative, Locarno 2020--For the Future of Films, designed to provide financial support to help foster independent auteur filmmaking. The decision was made by the executive board and board of governors of the Locarno Film Festival, under president Marco Solari.
Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films will bolster independent auteur filmmaking and cinema theaters via a selection of dedicated projects, offering special content to both industry professionals and the public on a range of platforms which will include — as and when allowed by the constantly evolving situation — screenings at physical venues in complete safety.
The concept of Locarno 2020 is to take action--through special Leopard awards and other prizes--against the film industry’s enforced idleness by supporting filmmakers who have had to interrupt their projects, contributing both to international and domestic productions that have been put on hold because of the global pandemic.
Locarno artistic director Lili Hinstin observed: “First and foremost, the Festival is here to help the films, and organizing digital premieres online in August doesn’t strike us as being the best way to do that. Our role is to act as a link between films, industry, and audience, and so we looked at alternative ways of carrying out that mission, assessing where our intervention could be most useful at this time. We are working on developing a coherent project, in line with the history of the Festival, with solidarity as the keynote, that will be good both for our public and for filmmakers in difficulty.”
Locarno 2020 is once again made possible by the joint efforts of institutional and private sector partners who, from the outset, have been keen to show their awareness and support for the Festival and for auteur filmmaking, despite the complex nature of the current crisis: public bodies including the Canton Ticino with Swisslos, the Federal Office of Culture, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation--SDC of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the City and Region of Locarno; and private sector players such as main partners UBS, la Mobiliare, Manor, Swisscom, the Destination partner Ascona-Locarno Turismo, and Media Partner SSR/RSI.
Locarno Festival chief operating officer Raphaël Brunschwig declared: “In the first place our thanks are due to all our partners, who have always been there for us and continue to be there at this time. Our strong, highly motivated team is committed to making the best out of whatever opportunities may be generated by this crisis situation. Our gaze remains directed towards the continuity of the Festival and the challenges it will face in the future, certain to be even more complex after this troubled year.”
The full line-up of projects and initiatives for Locarno 2020--For the Future of Films will be presented to the public and press over the coming weeks.