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It was a month of March to remember for Giselle Lin (Singapore), Leonardo Martinelli (Brazil) and Tommaso Donati (Switzerland), who were selected for the first edition of the Locarno Residency, a project created with the support of Swiss Life. In fact, the three filmmakers had the opportunity to stay together at Fondazione Eranos in Ascona, a place imbued with culture and the international debates that have animated the area since the early twentieth century. The goal of their stay was to tackle one of the most delicate phases of their work: script writing. It's a direct confrontation with their creative need, with the driving force that pushed them to dream up their film, to imagine a story that speaks to the world through the language of cinema. Accompanying them on this trip, which follows their previous stay in Venice at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, made available by the Swiss Consulate in Italy, were their tutors: Anna Ciennik assisting them in writing, Stefan Ivančić guiding them towards the production side of future works, and Tizian Büchi preparing them for the directorial path that can start right from the project.
The Locarno Film Festival program, which supports the cinema of tomorrow and the delicate transition from short to feature film, has already seen the three filmmakers pass various stages, including the initial selection of their projects: now there are still a few months left to complete the work and officially present it at Locarno76 (August 2-12, 2023) in front of industry professionals. On this occasion, the winner of the 5,000 CHF prize will also be announced, with support for the full realization of the chosen project, while the three participants of the next edition of the Residency will be selected from among ten candidates.
The Locarno Residency has been one of the most validating experiences of my film career.
The March program saw Giselle, Leonardo and Tommaso alternate their work with various individual encounters with their three tutors as well as Eddie Bertozzi, the Head of the Selection Committee for Pardi di domani, and Project Manager Daniela Persico. including a special collective meeting.
Says Giselle: "The Locarno Residency has been one of the most validating experiences of my film career. Returning to the Festival's home to develop my first feature film project has been so special to me. The connections and conversations with the residents and tutors alike have been indelible for this often long and arduous filmmaking journey."
There were multiple specific learning opportunities, such as the online classes by producer Paolo Benzi, who explored the personal approach to projects, including a social and philosophical point of view; and those with Agathe Valentin, who focused on the vital role of sales agents in the film market.
The opportunity to exchange ideas with the mentors during my stay in Locarno was incredibly valuable.
For Leonardo, the stay's context and organization were decisive means of support for this stage: "As I found myself immersed in my writing work, the serene and peaceful atmosphere of the place provided me with the perfect setting to focus my thoughts and explore my creative instincts. In addition, the opportunity to exchange ideas with the mentors during my stay in Locarno was incredibly valuable. The chance to engage with different perspectives and styles of thinking about the script and its possible approaches allowed me to broaden my understanding of the craft."
The occurrence of two other flagship initiatives of the Festival in the same period made it possible to create fruitful synergies with the program, starting with "L'immagine e la parola", which brought Romanian director Radu Jude and world-famous historian Carlo Ginzburg to Locarno. The participants of the Residency thus attended the masterclasses on the relationship between images and history, met the guests and the public of the event, and connected at various times with the young directors from all over the world who took part in the Spring Academy.
The Residency is an ideal place, to cultivate those interconnections between people and projects, especially in a context like Locarno, where, even out of season, there is a constant desire for cinema.
Says Tommaso: "Writing is an act that requires extreme solitude; writing a film, on the contrary, is a process that needs a daily confrontation, that exchange of ideas and reflections, which almost brings it closer to an editing process. For this reason, the Residency is an ideal place, to cultivate those interconnections between people and projects, especially in a context like Locarno, where, even out of season, there is a constant desire for cinema.”
The intensive journey, which allowed Giselle, Leonardo and Tommaso to also engage with Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro, Managing Director Raphaël Brunschwig and Deputy COO and Chief Innovation Officer Simona Gamba, ended with two appointments of El MoVe, a new initiative of the Monte Verità Literary Events. During the first of these, anthropologist Michael Taussig spoke of the role played by cinema in his vision, showcasing a short film dedicated to aboriginal culture. The director and producer Daniele Incalcaterra, on the other hand, recounted his professional experiences, focusing in particular on the work done in Paraguay for two of his documentaries, through the screening and commentary of some excerpts. The following day, a discussion with Taussig and the other participants put an end to the proceedings.
It was a thousand different voices, approaches and points of view, to test one's ideas and give them shape, waiting to deal with their translation into feature films.