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Yesterday, Saturday 14 August, brought the 74th Locarno Film Festival to a close with the final awards ceremony. The 2021 edition, the first held under new Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro, marks a major restart for the Festival. Last night in Piazza Grande also saw the announcement of the Variety Piazza Grande Award for ROSE by Aurélie Saada and the Prix du Public UBS for HINTERLAND by Stefan Ruzowitzky. The evening’s extra surprise came from John Landis, who handed the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dario Argento, recognizing the remarkable career of one of the greatest visual talents of our times.
The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, the first under Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro, came to an end yesterday, Saturday 14 August. During the eleven days of the event, screenings were attended by a combined audience of 78,600. There were 29,700 admissions to the Piazza Grande and 48,900 to other theaters (roughly 50% fewer than in 2019, but with this situation determined in part by the reduced capacity of venues), and there were more than 8,000 viewers online for the sections Cineasti del presente and Open Doors: Shorts. Film industry attendance figures showed 2,836 accreditations, including 1,030 industry attendees and 792 journalists and photographers, a drop of 10% against the 2019 level. The accreditations included 333 online attendees. Indeed the Festival’s online results were excellent overall: the official Festival website attracted more than double the number of visitors recorded in 2019, with 290,000 unique visitors from 186 countries and 3 million page views.
Festival President Marco Solari officially closed the 74th Locarno Film Festival: “The decision to return at all costs to the Piazza Grande, the iconic venue and symbol of the Festival – made when the progress of the pandemic was still unknown – turned out to be the right one. Even more than the attendance figures, what really counts is the awareness in our city, region and Canton that we have successfully got the Festival going again, emerging from months of lockdown and depression, in the knowledge that, with an event of such high cultural quality, we can probably recover some level of serenity and joy in our lives.”
Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro commented: “I can only say that I am satisfied, very gratified by this, my first edition. The prizes awarded reflect the vision of the artistic team and our determination to give rise to a Festival that is free, inclusive and, above all, popular. A Festival that allows every kind of audience to explore new, different images, to rediscover the pleasure of the cinema and to re-interpret and find meaning in their own experiences, including the traumas of the past couple of years. For me and the team, the response of the people in the Piazza Grande, in the theaters and in the streets of Locarno has been a very moving sign of rebirth, and also certainly a strong motivation for our next steps.”
Chief Operating Officer Raphaël Brunschwig had an early report on the results of the event: “Given the very complex circumstances in which we had to plan and mount this edition, we’re pleased with the results achieved. We’re grateful to our team for their unstinting efforts and huge sense of responsibility as they worked to restart the Festival and re-open the Piazza Grande for our public, who returned to recreate a vibrant atmosphere in the City of Locarno. That shared spirit of collaboration could also be seen in the ancillary activities, more integrated than ever in the program of the main event, such as the second edition of BaseCamp in Losone, the expanded Locarno Kids and the new Rotonda by la Mobiliare. With this example in mind, and with the backing of all those who made possible the projects presented over the past couple of weeks, we’ll be getting right down to work on the 75th edition.”
The past few days also brought to an end the raft of dedicated events and activities for film industry attendees, organized by Locarno Pro and Open Doors. The heads of the two programs, respectively Markus Duffner and Sophie Bourdon, reported very positively on this year’s editions, held mainly in-person in Locarno, but with part of the offering also available online. The number of accreditations was virtually the same as in 2019, thanks in part to the possibility of following activities remotely. Locarno therefore confirms its reputation as a front-ranking international platform for industry professionals and a space for discussion and creation of the cinema of the future.
For the full list of prize winners at the 2021 Festival, as also press articles, the photo gallery and the conversations between the audience and film personalities who received tributes and awards, visit:
The 75th Locarno Film Festival will be held from 3 to 13 August 2022.