Press Releases  ·  07 | 06 | 2023

Locarno Open Doors Announces Projects’ Hub and Producers’ Lab Participants, Introduces Directors’ Club

Open Doors is entering its 21st edition and for the second year in a row will focus on filmmakers from underrepresented countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program will take place online in July and onsite during the Locarno Pro Days (August 3 to 9, 2023).

© Virginia Bettoja

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This year, in addition to the Projects’ Hub and Producers’ Lab, Locarno Open Doors is launching a third talent development program: the Directors’ Club. The Club will welcome directors whose short or feature-length films are selected for the Open Doors Screenings, part of Locarno’s official selection, and will provide the filmmakers with an extensive line-up of talks, workshops and networking opportunities. The participants and their films will be announced together with the official selection of the Locarno Film Festival on 5 July 2023.

Zsuzsi Bánkuti, Head of Open Doors, comments: “In the last few years we have seen the directors of the Open Doors Screenings naturally connect within the Festival. To encourage this and provide the attending filmmakers with even more opportunities to make the most out of their festival experience, we have decided to create a special talent hub for them, the Directors’ Club. A variation of perspectives is the key factor in the selection process, and we strongly believe inclusive representation and accessibility - among other factors - should not only be seen on screen, but also behind the camera.

Every year, Open Doors invites new talents and projects looking for European funding possibilities to the Festival in August. A total of eight projects in development and eight creative producers are selected to participate in the co-production platform, the Projects’ Hub, and the talent development program for creative producers, the Producers’ Lab, respectively. Together with the Open Doors Screenings as part of the Festival’s official selection and the new Director’s Club, these strands form the program of Open Doors.


Among this year’s Projects’ Hub selection is Vía láctea (Milky Way), the latest feature by Costa Rican director Paz Fábrega, whose Agua fría de mar (Cold Water of the Sea, 2010) won the Tiger Award in Rotterdam; the animated hybrid Pantasma by exiled Nicaraguan director Gloria Carrión who returns to Open Doors after her short Hojas de K. (Leaves of K., 2022) was part of the Open Doors Screenings; Raised by Goats, the second feature of Jamaican director Gibrey Allen, who met the film’s producer Nadean Rawlins through Open Doors in 2022 where he was showing his first feature film; animated horror LOA. Mata a tus amos (LOA. Kill Your Masters) by first-time filmmaker Carlos Zerpa from Venezuela, which received the Open Doors’ Online Script Consultancy during last year’s session; and El ultimo rey (Last of the Kings), a vampire western film, by Peruvian director Victor Checa, whose first feature Tiempos futuros (The Shape of Things to Come, 2021) was presented at Tallinn Black Nights. Other countries represented in the Hub are Bolivia, Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

This year’s Producers’ Lab will once again focus on strengthening collaborations between producers in the regions, while also including topics such as inclusivity, accessibility and mental health within the film industry. The Lab includes some producers with a longer track record, such as Joaquín Ruano (Guatemala), executive producer of Nuestras madres (Our Mothers, 2019) by César Díaz (winner of the Cannes  2019 Camera d’Or), and Ana Isabel Martins Palacios (Honduras), producer of Mario Ramos’ La Condesa. Samuel Suffren (Haiti) and Daniela Muñoz (Cuba) return to Open Doors to develop their projects as creative producers at the Lab. Both participated in the Open Doors Screenings in 2022 with their shorts Agwe (2021) and Umbra (Gloom, 2021) respectively, with Muñoz also being one of the panelists on the festival talk ‘Disability and Inclusion in the Audiovisual Industry’ that year.  Other participants come from Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru. Together, all eight producers (4 female, 4 male) bring a variety of genres, formats and subjects to the table.

Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival Giona A. Nazzaro comments: “The Open Doors participants are all catalysts for their local film scene, and we are excited to introduce a new generation of filmmakers to the international film industry as well as create a strong network between the participants regionally. We hope this will help to trigger sustainable ideas and connections within the region and outside of it.

On August 8, a panel of professional jury will grant financial and in-kind awards to selected winning projects. Financial incentives are the Open Doors Grant, generously sponsored by Visions sud est and the City of Bellinzona, which carries a substantial prize of CHF 50,000. Other esteemed awards encompass the CNC (Centre national di cinéma et de l’image animée) prize for a value of 8,000 Euros, as well as the Arte Kino International Prize, presented by ARTE France of 6,000 Euros. Additional in-kind prizes are offered by the Sørfond Film Fund  the BrLab  LEXIA Insights , World Cinema Fund the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), IFFR Pro, Moulin d’Andé - CECI, and the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur .

The full overview of projects and participants can be found here.

About Open Doors

The Open Doors initiative was launched by the Locarno Film Festival in 2003, in subsequent collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year by co-distributing Makbul Mubarak’s Autobiography all over Switzerland in April-May 2023 together with trigon-film and Swiss arthouse cinemas. For more than 20 years, Open Doors’ mission has been to support artists from underrepresented communities around the world, and from countries in which cinema and art as a form of expression are at risk.

Offering a multi-faceted space for nurturing film talents, it has developed an array of programs for training, learning and networking for film professionals, as well as public screenings and events - during the Locarno Film Festival and all year long.