Who we are

Conceived in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II, the Locarno Film Festival was destined to be a platform for the rebirth of freedom of artistic expression, and since its inception the event has hosted the boldest, most avant-garde and innovative forms of filmmaking. Lying between the mountains and the Swiss shore of Lake Maggiore, once a year the city of Locarno is decked out in the yellow-and-black Leopard spotting of the Festival colors to host an intensive, 11-day celebration of cinema.

The Festival offers films, talks, events, concerts and art exhibitions, creating year after year a multi-faceted community, local and global, that converges on Piazza Grande for the evening screenings. Locarno’s picturesque main square becomes Europe’s biggest open-air theater, where an audience of up to 8,000 people can gather to watch prestigious international premieres and enjoy a unique, incomparable viewing experience.

With its competitions and other sections, the Festival offers a first look at the most original productions on the world cinema scene and introduces emerging film talents, as well as exploring and enriching the world’s film heritage. Over the years Locarno has discovered names that are now writ large in movie history, such as Marco Bellocchio, Lina Wertmüller, Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Kathryn Bigelow. A prestigious showcase for all titles presented, every year the Festival awards the Pardo d’oro, acknowledged as one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of independent filmmaking, a guarantee of quality and excellence which also brings significant recognition from both the industry and from cinephiles worldwide.

The Festival is a platform for exchange, designed to be a place where audience, industry players and audiovisual artists are free to mingle and enjoy together an immense collective experience. Thanks to its focus on the future of cinema and the intense conversations that surround the medium, the Festival has increasingy reshaped itself as a place of creation. A space where brand new ideas, images, imaginations and projects are developed, where training and cultural activities continue year round, aiming to educate the public and nurture the community of independent filmmakers and industry professionals that has grown up over time.