Press Releases  ·  04 | 05 | 2018

Eight projects and nine producers picked for Open Doors Hub&Lab 2018

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Open Doors is the Locarno Festival sidebar that operates under the Locarno Pro umbrella, promoting and enhancing the global reach of independent filmmaking from the South and East of the world. This year Open Doors concludes its three-year focus on the film industries of Southern Asia, presenting nine producers and eight projects selected for the 2018 edition. The featured filmmakers include names already established at international level, such as Afghan director and Golden Globe winner Siddiq Barmak and the Nepalese Min Bahadur Bham, whose The Black Hen was selected for Venice in 2015.

Over this three-year period, Open Doors has created a platform for a generation of directors and producers to raise their visibility and establish contacts with production models elsewhere. The program focused on a geographical region that is rich in culture but poorly represented at international events has offered moviegoers and industry attendees at Locarno an opportunity to hear new voices in world cinema. Alongside some unforgettable moments, such as the touching presentation in Piazza Grande of the film Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait by Khyentse Norbu, the past three years leave us a lasting legacy of contacts and experiences which we are sure will soon bear valuable fruit in forthcoming editions at Locarno,” was how Locarno Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian hailed the sidebar’s recent achievements.

The pathway of research and exploration followed by the Open Doors sidebar comprises three parallel initiatives that take place during the Locarno Pro: Open Doors Hub, Open Doors Lab and Open Doors Screenings.

Open Doors Hub
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The eight projects selected for the 2018 Open Doors Hub co-production platform highlight the diversity of cinema in Southern Asia. Once again this year there are internationally known participants such as Afghan director Siddiq Barmak, winner of a Golden Globe for best foreign-language film with Osama in 2004, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara, already a competition entrant at Rotterdam, including with his recent film Burning Birds (2017), the Nepalese Min Bahadur Bham, selected for the Critics’ Week at Venice in 2015 with The Black Hen, Pakistan’s Iram Parveen Bilal, who gained international recognition for her film Josh (2014), and lastly Myanmar director The Maw Naing, whose debut feature The Monk (2014) has appeared at various festivals, including Karlovy Vary. Alongside these established auteurs, the Hub will host emerging younger talents such as the Pakistani Saim Sadiq, presenting his project Rose, produced by well-known director and producer Sabiha Sumar (Golden Leopard in 2003 for Silent Waters).

Open Doors Lab
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Nine participants have been chosen to feature this year in the training platform Open Doors Lab, all from producers and producer-directors active in Southern Asia. One outstanding participant is Sri Lankan Sumudu Malalagama, who has made a massive contribution towards encouraging young local directors and allowing new filmmaking voices to be heard.

Intensifying support for training producers in these regions fosters the growth of independent filmmaking. The numerous applications from women filmmakers we received this year are a highly positive signal of exactly that process at work. Our objective is to show that in these regions, too, there are hidden talents blazing a trail for a new generation of directors who want to break free from the clichés and media stereotypes and bring a fresh view of their respective countries to the international stage. Their gaze is a living witness to the incredible energy and creativity in these areas and to their personal commitment to playing a part in the rebirth of their countries,” commented Sophie Bourdon, Head of Open Doors and Deputy Head of Locarno Pro.

To learn more about the projects and participants, go to the link.

Lastly, the sidebar also features the Open Doors Screenings, which will showcase for the Festival public a representative selection of short and full-length films from Southern Asia. The full program will be announced in July.

The Open Doors jury will award several prizes to selected projects from the Open Doors Hub. The Open Doors Grant worth 50,000 Swiss francs is financed by the Swiss production support fund Visions Sud Est (also backed by SDC) together with the City of Bellinzona. France’s national film and animation center CNC will offer a prize worth 8,000 euros, while ARTE France will fund a prize worth 6,000 euros.

Since its inception, Open Doors has worked closely with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The sidebar is run by the Locarno Festival’s Locarno Pro initiative and enjoys support from numerous European organizations, including TorinoFilmLab, EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), ACE Producers, Festival Scope and the Winterthur Short Film Festival.

During the Locarno Festival, the projects will be presented to potential European and international partners as part of the Locarno Pro program, which runs from 1 to 7 August 2018.

The 71st Locarno Festival will take place from 1 to 11 August 2018.