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The Locarno Film Festival is an annual film festival held every August in Locarno, Switzerland. Founded in 1946, it is one of the longest-running film festivals, and is also known for being a platform for art house films. The festival screens films in various competitive and non-competitive sections, including feature-length narrative and documentary, short, avant-garde, and retrospective programs. The Piazza Grande section is held in one of the world's largest open-air screening venues, seating 8,000 spectators.
The top prize of the Festival is the Golden Leopard, awarded to the best film in the International Competition. Other awards include the Leopard of Honour for career achievement, and the Prix du Public UBS, the public choice award.
The Festival del film Locarno kicked off on 23 August 1946, at the Grand Hotel of Locarno with the screening of the movie O sole mio by Giacomo Gentilomo. The first edition was organized in less than three months with a line-up of fifteen movies, mainly American and Italian, among which was Rome, Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini, And Then There Were None directed by René Clair (1945), Double Indemnity by Billy Wilder (1944) and The Song of Bernadette by Henry King (1943).
Later, the Festival del film Locarno presented features and short films by many international directors such as Claude Chabrol, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Verhoeven, Miloš Forman, Marco Bellocchio, Glauber Rocha, Raúl Ruiz, Alain Tanner, Mike Leigh, Béla Tarr, Chen Kaige, Edward Yang, Alexandr Sokurov, Atom Egoyan, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Gregg Araki, Christoph Schaub, Catherine Breillat, Abbas Kiarostami, Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa, Fatih Akin, Claire Denis and Kim Ki-Duk.
The 73rd edition, scheduled from 5 to 15 August 2020, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; in its place will be held the special edition called "Locarno 2020 - For the Future of Films". For the Future of Films is designed for a year zero and to welcome films and spectators to the large web square and the valuable local cinemas. An audience from all over the world with whom to discover the first visions of today, support the films that will arrive tomorrow, and explore projects to enhance the history of cinema and the Festival.
The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will take place from 4 to 14 August 2021.
In 2020, due to the interruption of programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has asked high-profile directors including Lucrecia Martel and Lav Diaz to select films from the festival's 74-year history for a retrospective that will be screened online and in physical locations.
Concorso internazionale (international competition) - Awards
- Pardo d'oro (Golden Leopard). Grand Prize of the festival, awarded by the city and region of Locarno, for the best film in the concorso internazionale (international competition), that is shared equally between the director and the producer.
- Special Jury Prize. Prize, awarded by cities of Ascona and Losone, for the second best film in the concorso internazionale (international competition), that is shared equally between the director and the producer.
- Leopard for Best Direction. Prize, awarded by the city and region of Locarno, for the best directed film in the concorso internazionale (international competition).
- Leopard for Best Actress.
- Leopard for Best Actor.
- Swatch First Feature Awards. Prize awarded by a jury of international critics to the first works presented in the sections concorso internazionale, concorso Cineasti del presente, Fuori concorso, Moving ahead (ex Signs of Life) and Piazza Grande.
Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the Present) - Awards
- Pardo d'oro Cineasti del presente (Golden Leopard - Filmmakers of the Present). Prize awarded to the best film of this competition, which is dedicated to first or second features.
- Ciné+ Special Jury Prize – Cineasti del presente. The French television channel Ciné+ Club offers the broadcast rights to the winning film and guarantees the broadcast on their channel.
- Pardo per il miglior regista emergente (Leopard for Best New Director): Prize for the best new director.
- Pardo per la migliore opera prima (Leopard for the Best First Feature). Prize which has been awarded from 2006 to 2009 to the best first work screened in the competition concorso internazionale or concorso Cineasti del presente.
Pardi di domani (Leopards of Tomorrow) - Awards
- Pardino d'oro for the Best International Short Film – SRG SSR Prize. Prize awarded to the best short film in the international short film competition Pardi di domani.
- Pardino d'oro for the Best Swiss Short Film – Swiss Life Prize. Prize awarded to the best short film in the national short film competition Pardi di domani.
- Pardino d'argento SSR SRG for the international competition. Prize awarded to a film in the international competition Pardi di domani.
- Pardino d'argento Swiss Life for the national competition. Prize awarded to a film in the national competition Pardi di domani.
- Locarno short film nominee for the European Film Awards – Pianifica Prize. The prize, which is offered by the studio Pianifica, goes to a short film made by a European director, presented in one of the two competitions. The award includes an automatic nomination in the short film category of the European Film Awards.
- Prize for Best Swiss Newcomer. The prize provides equipment offered by Cinegrell, Visuals SA, Freestudios SA, Taurus Studio e Avant-première SA/Film Demnächst AG.
- Premio Medien Patent Verwaltung AG. The winning film will be subtitled in three central European languages. This subtitling can be inserted on film, video or DVD format.
Direction and management
- 1946–1958: Riccardo Bolla
- 1960–1965: Vinicio Beretta
- 1966: Sandro Bianconi
- 1967–1970: Sandro Bianconi, Freddy Buache
- 1971: Commission of direction, composed of seven members from Ticino
- 1972–1977: Moritz de Hadeln
- 1978–1981: Jean-Pierre Brossard
- 1982–1991: David Streiff
- 1992–2000: Marco Müller
- 2000–2005: Irene Bignardi
- 2005–2009: Frédéric Maire
- 2010–2012: Olivier Père
- 2012–2018: : Carlo Chatrian
- 2018–2020: Lili Hinstin
- 2020: Nadia Dresti (ad interim)
- 2021–: Giona A. Nazzaro
- 1946–1955: Camillo Beretta
- 1957–1962: Enrico Franzioni
- 1963–1968: Fernando Gaja
- 1970–1980: Luciano Giudici
- 1981–1999: Raimondo Rezzonico
- Since 2000: Marco Solari
Chief Operating Officers:
- 2006–2013: Marco Cacciamognaga
- 2013–2017: Mario Timbal
- Since August 2017: Raphaël Brunschwig
The official Leopard of Locarno Festival by Jannuzzi Smith
- "A long story... in a few words". Locarno Festival. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "Wang Bing interview". Locarno Festival. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- "Piazza Grande". Locarno Festival. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Grater, Tom (20 July 2020). "Lucrecia Martel & Lav Diaz Pick Titles For Locarno Film Festival Retro Program; MUBI To Screen Globally". Deadline. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "Locarno Festival: 'Germany, Year Zero,' 'Stranger Than Paradise' Among Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "Press Release : Carlo Chatrian, new Artistic Director. 4/09/2012". Pardo.ch.
- Festival del film Locarno Official Site (in English and Italian)
- Festival del film Locarno at Internet Movie Database