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Two female gazes, stretching from Switzerland to Argentina, have won the Pardi 2020 awards – each worth 70,000 Swiss francs – for productions halted by the COVID-19 crisis. The international jury for The Films After Tomorrow – made up of Nadav Lapid, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Kelly Reichardt – picked out Chocobar, by acclaimed Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, a political documentary that takes its cue from the murder in 2009 of land rights activist Javier Chocobar to investigate aspects of colonization and native culture. The jury of the Swiss selection, composed of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Alina Marazzi and Matías Piñeiro, awarded another female director, Marí Alessandrini, with Zahorí, a Swiss production also set in Argentina, where an unlikely friendship grows on the Patagonian Steppe between a thirteen-year-old girl of Ticino origin and an old Mapuche man.
In the international selection the Campari Award, a special jury prize worth 50,000 Swiss francs, went to the film Selvajaria (Savagery) by Miguel Gomes, freely adapted from the novel Rebellion in the Backlands by Euclides da Cunha, an account of the late 19th century military campaign of the newly-formed Brazilian Republic against the tiny settlement of Canudos. The Swatch Award for the most innovative project (30,000 Swiss francs) was won by De Humani Corporis Fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body) by Verena Paravel and Lucien-Castaing Taylor, a political and philosophical documentary on the delicate issues of bioethics raised by new technologies in medicine. Among the projects in the Swiss selection, the SRG SSR Award, consisting in a TV advertising campaign worth 100,000 Swiss francs, was assigned to LUX, a documentary about the Swiss army by young filmmakers Raphaël Dubach and Mateo Ybarra.
The list above comprises the verdict for the flagship section of this special edition of the Locarno Film Festival, conceived as a way of confronting the challenges of the cinema industry imposed by the global pandemic, and now coming to a successful close.
The pictures that tell the story of Locarno 2020 are unlike those from any other edition. Gone this year, alas, is the collective embrace of the Piazza Grande and the glamour of international movie stars. At the same time, however, this was the year in which the Festival opened up to a truly global audience with its first ever online programming. It has been a year of solidarity, too, with the projects in The Films After Tomorrow and those which, like Closer to Life, were organized on behalf of independent movie theaters, one of the film industry sectors worst hit in recent months. A year in which the filmmakers of the future took center stage, with the Pardi di domani short films section being followed enthusiastically both online and in theaters – where some of the Swiss directors were able to present their films to the audience physically. The main prizes for the Pardi di domani went to I ran from it and was still in it by Darol Olu Kae in the international competition and to Menschen am Samstag (People on Saturday) by Jonas Ulrich in the Swiss competition.
But this was also a year when the focus on reassessment of the past was equally sharp, with landmark titles in Festival history and the rediscovery of the event’s extensive archives. A year when we could explore or return to the cinemas of the Global South and East, thanks to the Open Doors Screenings – in which for the first time prizes have been awarded by the Cinema&Gioventù youth jury – and Through the Open Doors. Last but by no means least, this was a year when we experienced the joy of going to the movies again: in the Secret Screenings, in the cinema of wide open spaces seen in our opening-night film First Cow by Kelly Reichardt, and even in the unprecedented experience of lockdown, relived in the short films that make up the Collection Lockdown by Swiss Filmmakers, tomorrow’s closing-night feature at Locarno 2020.
The Films After Tomorrow – International selection
The jury for the international selection, made up of Nadav Lapid, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Kelly Reichardt, awarded the following prizes:
The Films After Tomorrow – Swiss selection
The jury for the Swiss selection, made up of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Alina Marazzi and Matías Piñeiro, awarded the following prizes:
Pardi di domani
The Pardi di domani jury, made up of Kiri Dalena, Mamadou Dia and Claudette Godfrey, awarded the following prizes:
The Cinema&Gioventù junior jury also awarded the following prizes:
The Films After Tomorrow
Pardi di domani
Open Doors Screenings - Short films
Open Doors Screenings - Long films
Perfectly in tune with the spirit of Locarno 2020, this year’s juries gave their verdict virtually. To watch the moment when their decision was announced, click here.
Artistic Director Lili Hinstin engaged in conversation with all the winners of The Films After Tomorrow, addressing both artistic and financial aspects of their projects and discussing how the global pandemic has impacted and is continuing to severely affect the film industry in its entirety. The conversations were filmed and can be watched again here.
The 74th Locarno Film Festival will take place from 4 to 14 August 2021.