70 Years of Locarno | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 29, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 29, 2017

A Milestone in International Film Festivals

70 Years of Locarno

There are many grand film festivals in the world, but very few have kept the tradition of films alive like the Locarno Festival. Established in 1946, the Locarno Festival is reaching its monumental 70th year at 2017, and thus promises to present an event unlike any seen before. With emphasis on highlighting experienced film personalities and pushing newer talents to greater heights, Locarno Festival remains to be one of the most important events in the world of international films.

What makes the Locarno Festival so special? Among exclusive premiering of new films, showcasing featured films from different countries and awarding exceptional directors, producers and actors, the Locarno Festival ensures that the love of film and the passion put towards making exemplary movies remain as strong as ever. The event goes on for 11 days at the month of August every year, and is held at the scenic town of Locarno in southern Switzerland. Many filmmakers, both young and old, gather at this Swiss wonderland to celebrate the magic of film and usher themselves in various awards, premieres and quality presentation all throughout the event. 

One of the largest open-air screenings in the world

Locarno Festival 2017 will exclusively feature two new theaters made to provide the perfect film-screening. Along with PalaCinema and a newly revived GranRex theater, Locarno is sure to present a premier movie experience for all attendants. The 70th festival is also introducing a brand new session named “Locarno Talks”, where attendants will get the chance to hear professional opinions regarding films.


Another new session is “Locarno Kids”, which, as the name implies, is a set of film screenings exclusively for children and kids. This session is also set to contain workshops which hope to give the younger audience an insight into the world of filmmaking. Last but not least, there is also the “#movieofmylife” competition where participants can submit videos digitally. Suffice to say, the array of new features in the 70th Locarno Festival is sure to enrich the taste for films further.

Piazza Grande

As far as awards go, the Locarno Festival rewards the best among the best with the highest honors possible. The Grand Prize, “Pardo d'oro (Golden Leopard”', is given to the winner of the “Concorso Internazionale (International Competition)”. This award is given by the city of Locarno itself, and is shared among the director and the producer. The runner-up of the competition receives the “Special Jury Prize”, and various other awards, such as the 'Leopard for Best Direction' and the “Leopard for Best Actor/Actress”, which are bestowed upon to worthy filmmakers and actors in the festival.

Additionally, other segments of the festival, namely the “Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the Present)” and the “Pardi di domain (Leopards of Tomorrow)” also awards specific works which excel at certain categories. For example, “Leopards of Tomorrow” award the best short film in both national and international levels, which are “Swiss Life Prize” and “SRG SSR Prize” respectively. The segment “Filmmakers of the Present” exclusively awards films that are presented for the first or second time. This segment alone ensures that filmmakers of today are motivated enough to keep producing fantastic films in the future.

One aspect that makes the Locarno Festival so significant is the wide array of movie premieres it exhibits. This year, the “Intentional Competition” will feature 15 world premieres and 3 international premieres, with movies such as 9 doigts by the French director FJ Ossang, Gemini by the American director Aaron Katz, and Goliath by the Swiss director Dominik Locher garnering much hype. The “International Competition” will also feature movies from various other countries, including Denmark, Canada, Chile, Palestine, Italy, Germany, and the list goes on. The segment truly brings out the “international” element of modern films, and show how there is no border when it comes to enjoying exemplary movies.

The “Filmmakers of the Present” segment will feature 13 world premieres and 3 international premieres. 3/4 by Illian Metev, Beach Rats by Eliza Hittman and Sashishi Ded (Scary Mother) by Ana Urushadze are examples of the movies that are going to be featured in this segment. The “Leopards of Tomorrow” segment contains an astonishing number of movie screening, with a whopping 38, being presented in two sections; national and international competitions. António e Catarina by Cristina Haneș, Kuckuck by Aline Höchli and La Femme Canon by Albertine Zullo and David Toutevoix are some of the movies to look out for.

Locarno Festival in the past

“Signs of Life”, another segment which awards directors both new and the established, is having 11 world premiers this year, 3 of which are first-time features. This segment also features movies from all around the world, especially European countries; France, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc. Open-air screenings will be made as glorious as always thanks to the marvelous Piazza Grande. All in all, Locarno Festival is sure to indulge its audience to a fantastic screening of dazzling films never seen before.

A discussion regarding the Locarno Festival cannot be completed without mention of the “Open Doors Program”, which highlights movies from parts of the world which are not frequently focused upon in other international film festivals. From 2016 to 2018, the festival has decided to emphasize on films from eight specific South Asian countries, namely Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Malvides, Mynamar, Nepal, and of course, Bangladesh. Made in Bangladesh by Rubaiyat Hossain was the work selected to be featured from Bangladesh, which certainly adds a lot of international value to our local production of films. 

The fact that the Locarno Festival has reached its 70th year speaks volumes about its success. Since its inception, it has proven to be a cornerstone of international films and has always stayed true to its main purpose: showcasing talented individuals in the world of filmmaking. The contributions left by the Locarno Festival are unforgettable, and will keep on growing till the end of time.

9 doigts


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