Open Doors is a natural fit for “Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films”, the Locarno Film Festival edition dedicated to the future of the film industry. This section, which for 18 years has focused on the discovery and support of emerging cinematography, will now move online with its initiatives for professionals. Southeast Asia will again be at the center of the August program, with 8 projects and 9 producers from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Mongolia, including various market previews of established directors.
Open Doors, the section of the Locarno Film Festival that annually highlights directors and films from countries in the southern and eastern regions of the world, to encourage the development of an independent collaborative film scene, will be one of the protagonists of Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films.
From year to year, this initiative has demonstrated to members of the film industry how learning to communicate their projects is a first step in the development of long-term artistic and professional paths. This is seen, for example, in the case of Mati Diop, Open Doors Grant, 2012, and Grand Prix at Cannes, 2019; or the young Pakistani Hamza Bangash, Open Doors 2018 Award for Excellence at the Busan International Film Festival 2019, and whose short film Dia also won the 2020 Locarno Shorts Weeks Award, the Pardi di domani winter initiative;
According to Lili Hinstin, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “In recent years, the Open Doors section has shown itself to be a formidable laboratory for exploring new avenues to support cinema from every latitude. Thanks to the projects created in each edition, the Locarno Film Festival has been able to tear down more or less visible distribution and cultural barriers, bringing to light new talents and allowing high-value films to be brought to completion. The idea of a competition like The Films After Tomorrow for Locarno 2020, intended for works that are underway, also emerged because of the valuable lessons provided by the experience of Open Doors, and its courageous enthusiasm for discovery.”
The transition to online
Like other initiatives of Locarno 2020, Open Doors will also have a special edition thanks to the web. The protagonists of Hub (platform for international co-production) and Lab (training for creative producers) will meet online on dedicated platforms and will be able to present their projects to professionals in the international industry, thanks to individual meetings, programmed during the first week of Locarno 2020 (August 6-11).
The 2020 edition of Open Doors emphasizes the great narrative and creative richness of Mongolian and Southeast Asian cinema, as well as the urgent need for filmmakers from this region to share their visions of the contemporary society in which they live. These filmmakers in search of a new identity must confront, on the one hand, the past, traditions, and in some cases the discovery of democracy and, on the other hand, the great and rapid changes of the 21st century – themes that are all the more topical during this period marked by a health crisis.
Sophie Bourdon, Head of Open Doors and Deputy Head of Locarno Pro: “The Locarno Film Festival is proud to present the principal figures involved with this edition of Open Doors 2020, which, unusually, will be held online. With the presentation of new full-length films of fiction and animation (an absolute first for Open Doors, with Filipino director Avid Liongoren), it brings together filmmakers who are in accordance with the Festival’s free and responsible spirit. These will include some artists who are recognized on the international film scene, such as Mouly Surya from Indonesia (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2017, with Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts), Anucha Boonyawatana from Thailand (Malila: The Farewell Flower, Busan International Film Festival 2017 and shown at Open Door Screenings 2019), and Isabel Sandoval, from the Philippines, who presented her first feature film, Señorita, at the 2011 Locarno Film Festival (Concorso Cineasti del presente). There will also be promising young talents, discovered by the Open Doors section in recent years, such as Aung Phyoe from Burma (Cobalt Blue, Pardi di Domani 2019), Pham Thien An from Vietnam (Stay Awake, Be Ready, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and Open Doors Screenings 2019), and Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir from Mongolia (Open Doors Lab 2019).”
The selection also includes ever-greater numbers of female professionals from the region who are involved in both direction and production, and who contribute significantly to the emergence of new talents, including in countries where the challenges are even more accentuated, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Mongolia.
Open Doors is made possible by the collaboration of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Partner, which, even in during this global crisis, intends to continue making concrete contributions to the development of film industries in these areas. Partners who have confirmed their participation this year will include Visions sud est and the City of Bellinzona, which are participating in the principal prize, Open Doors Grant, with a tangible contribution of 68,000 Swiss Francs, an exceptionally increased amount for this edition and which will be divided between several projects; the CNC: Centre national du cinema et de l’image animée, which will contribute with a development grant of 8,000 Euro; and ARTE France, which will award the Arte Kino International Prize of 6,000 Euro. Other awards in performance are offered by the Sørfond film Fund and other partners who will be announced at a later date.
As part of Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, screenings of works from countries that are the focus of Open Doors will be accessible to everyone on August 5-15.
by Aung Phyoe
Myanmar, France, Czech Republic
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng)
by Pham Thien An
Vietnam, Singapore, France
by Anucha Boonyawatana
Thailand, United States
This City is a Battlefield (Perang Kota)
by Mouly Surya
by Isabel Sandoval
Oasis of Now
by Chee Sum Chia
by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
Zsa Zsa Zatumnah vs the Amazonistas of Planet X
by Avid Liongoren
Lao New Wave Cinema Productions
Choo Mun Bel
Mobile Lab Project
Nguyen Luong Hang