Press Releases  ·  02 | 08 | 2021

The Locarno Film Festival with USI Università della Svizzera italiana: Kevin B. Lee (USA) is to be the Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts

After careful consideration of 149 high-profile applications, Kevin B. Lee (USA) has been appointed Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts at USI Università della Svizzera italiana. Lee will take up his post from 1 st January 2022. The Festival public will have an opportunity to meet and speak with Lee on Thursday 5 August at the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare.

© Victor Brigola

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The Locarno Film Festival and USI are pleased to announce the appointment of the new Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts. The new position consolidates and strengthens the synergies between the Festival and USI, launching a project whose aim is to enhance their combined cultural and academic dimension at local and international level. The new Associate Professor will be active in USI’s Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, combining teaching and research with a consultancy role within the Festival itself, which will benefit from the input of knowhow and contacts towards its future development.


Last October’s call for the new chair drew 149 applications. The candidate finally selected is Kevin B. Lee, Professor of Crossmedia Publishing and co-chair of the Master’s Program in Artistic Research at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany. Lee is an internationally recognized expert with deep experience in the fields of culture and film, combining an academic career with extensive practice as filmmaker and critic. Noted for his pioneering work in the video essay format, a hybrid genre blending both directing and critical practices, Lee has successfully created and shared collective, multimodal thinking about the world of images and audiovisual experiences that surrounds us. Among the goals that Lee has set himself in taking up the new post is the future expansion of USI’s training offering for the media, promoting a new use of audiovisual media by students, who will themselves personally create educational content from moving images.


Boas Erez, Rector of USI: “With the recruitment of Kevin B. Lee, USI and the Locarno Film Festival will be able to respond to the current challenges in a dynamic and innovative industry, and to grasp the opportunities that the changing environment brings. The knowhow, dynamism and commitment of Prof. Lee will feed into USI, the Festival and the whole Ticino region. The new chair deepens our collaboration with the Festival and strengthens USI’s presence in Locarno.”


Marco Solari, President of the Locarno Film Festival: “It’s a source of pride for us that Italian-speaking Switzerland, the Locarno Film Festival and USI should be behind this vanguard project. Planning for the future of the cinema with a university chair tied to innovation in the academic and festival domains is especially important as we respond to the radical changes in the audiovisual world and in cultural events. A festival that stands still is dead. We will therefore engage deeply with the suggestions that Professor Kevin B. Lee will be giving us, thanks to his decades of experience in digital media and with contemporary audiovisual languages.”


Kevin B. Lee: “I am grateful to be entrusted by the Università della Svizzera and the Locarno Film Festival with this unique and exciting role. Through my 15 years producing video essays, I have witnessed how the dedicated study of cinema in an expanded media environment leads to new insights and innovations. I am excited to work with my colleagues and students in both exploring and contributing to the future of cinema.”


Professor Kevin B. Lee will be officially introduced to the Locarno Film Festival public on Thursday 5 August at 9 am in the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare. He will be joined by the Rector of USI Boas Erez and, on behalf of the Locarno Film Festival, by President Marco Solari, Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro and COO Raphaël Brunschwig.


The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will be held from 4 to 14 August. Please visit the official website of the Locarno Film Festival for the latest news on current COVID prevention measures in Piazza Grande and at the Forum @Rotonda, as also at all other Festival venues.