8,000 viewers a night, the Piazza Grande is both the Festival’s heart and its showcase. With its giant screen, one of the biggest in Europe, endowed with truly exceptional projection quality, the Piazza Grande is one of the finest open-air venues in the world. This magnificent and unique setting is where every night all the many and diverse festival audiences come together for a big cinematic event. The programming on the Piazza Grande offers prestigious screenings, most of them world, international or European premieres, introduced by the director and the cast.
The Piazza Grande audience also serves as the biggest jury on the planet, voting for the renowned “Prix du Public UBS” (Audience Award). In addition, there is the Variety Piazza Grande Award, chosen by a panel of film critics, and intended to assist the international career of a film in the selection.
Prix du Public UBS
The official jury is not the only one to hand out prizes at the Festival. Every night, the audience in Piazza Grande is on jury service, voting to decide the winner of the “Prix du Public UBS”.
The film that receives the most audience votes will win the “Prix du Public UBS” worth 30,000 CHF. The winner will receive the prize during the official awards ceremony.
For more than 10 years UBS has been honored to award an annual prize for filmmaking on behalf of the Festival audience. Previous winners of the “Prix du Public UBS” have included films such as Bend It Like Beckham, The Syrian Bride, Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), Monsieur Lazhar and BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee.
Variety Piazza Grande Award
The Variety Piazza Grande Award is awarded by a jury of several of the American paper’s critics who will attend Locarno. It will go to a film screened in the Piazza Grande program as a world or international première. The prize will recognize a film that stands out for both its artistic qualities and its potential for theatrical release. This award is intended to assist the international career of a film in selection thanks to Variety’s connections with the film industry and its authority within the sector.
Swatch First Feature Awards
Swatch support the prizes awarded by a jury of international film critics to the two best first feature films, as world or international premieres, selected for all sections of the Festival, except for the independent sections Semaine de la critique and Panorama Suisse:
- Swatch First Feature Award for the best first film: 15’000 CHF to the director;
- The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award: a special mention, with a 3 to 6 month residency in the Shanghai hotel of the same name.