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8,000 viewers a night, the Piazza Grande is both the Festival’s heart and its showcase. With its giant screen, one of the biggest in Europe, endowed with truly exceptional projection quality, the Piazza Grande is one of the finest open-air venues in the world. This magnificent and unique setting is where every night all the many and diverse festival audiences come together for a big cinematic event. The programming on the Piazza Grande offers prestigious screenings, most of them world, international or European premieres, introduced by the director and the cast.
The Piazza Grande audience also serves as the biggest jury on the planet, voting for the renowned “Prix du Public UBS” (Audience Award). In addition, there is the Variety Piazza Grande Award, chosen by a panel of film critics, and intended to assist the international career of a film in the selection.
The official jury is not the only one to hand out prizes at the Festival. Every night, the audience in Piazza Grande is on jury service, voting to decide the winner of the “Prix du Public UBS”.
The film that receives the most audience votes will win the “Prix du Public UBS” worth 30,000 CHF. The winner will receive the prize during the official awards ceremony.
For more than 10 years UBS has been honored to award an annual prize for filmmaking on behalf of the Festival audience. Previous winners of the “Prix du Public UBS” have included films such as Bend It Like Beckham, The Syrian Bride, Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), Monsieur Lazhar and BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee.
The Variety Piazza Grande Award is awarded by a jury of several of the American paper’s critics who will attend Locarno. It will go to a film screened in the Piazza Grande program as a world or international première. The prize will recognize a film that stands out for both its artistic qualities and its potential for theatrical release. This award is intended to assist the international career of a film in selection thanks to Variety’s connections with the film industry and its authority within the sector.
First Feature Award for the best first film: 15’000 CHF to the director.
The prize is awarded by a jury of personalities from the world of cinema, culture, journalism and film criticism to the best first feature film presented as world or international premiere in all sections of the Festival, except for the independent sections Semaine de la critique and Panorama Suisse.
Reflecting the Festival’s aim to cross and blur boundaries, the Concorso internazionale presents a stimulating panorama of contemporary auteur cinema, where young talent rubs shoulders with that of established directors.
An ideal arena for discovery, the Concorso Cineasti del presente is dedicated to emerging directors from all over the world and devoted to first, second and third features.
A crucible of future talent, the Pardi di domani section screens shorts and medium-length films (not more than 59 minutes in lenght) by independent filmmakers or film school students who have not yet tried their hand at feature films.
8,000 viewers a night, the Piazza Grande is both the Festival’s heart and its showcase. With its giant screen, one of the biggest in Europe, endowed with truly exceptional projection quality, the Piazza Grande is one of the finest open-air venues in the world.
The Fuori concorso selection offers recent work – feature films and shorts, film essays, documentaries – by well-established filmmakers, out of competition, presented mostly as world or international premiere.
From 2019 to 2021, the Open Doors Screenings section explores the diverse filmmaking of South East Asia and Mongolia. In 2021, it presents a curated selection of feature and short films from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Mongolia.
Histoire(s) du cinéma is the sidebar dedicated to the history of cinema. It offers works from filmmakers and artists to whom the Festival dedicates special tributes.
The Locarno Kids Screenings section offers films for children and teenagers. It has a special emphasis on works screening as national premieres, together with restored titles that help rediscover film history.
Founded in 1990, the Semaine de la critique is an independent section within the Locarno Festival organized by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists.