After four years in South America and Israel, in its sixth year First Look lands in Europe and picks Poland, whose cinema is on the rise, in terms of both art and production, beyond huge successes like Body by Malgoska Szumowska, the Academy Award won by Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, or the Silver Bear awarded to Tomasz Wasilewski. A strong signal about the strength of an industry which started showing to the world its movies and directors, completing the very important work done by the Polish Film Institute and Fundacja Polskie Centrum Audiowizualne. They are fundamental partners also for First Look, which always looks for complete agreement with the festival – the choice to look at Poland has been developed together with the director Carlo Chatrian, born from the attention to this Country already expressed in several festival sections all over last years – and with the guest Country.
Six movies in competition, a jury composed of relevant figures of festival management (international festivals with a focus on independent and art cinema like Toronto, Rotterdam and Istanbul), shown to a few dozen selected professionals: vendors, buyers, programmers and post-production support fund salesmen fight trying to meet high profile preview works, in an advanced post-production state.
The best movie will receive 65.000 euros from Cinelab Romania, to use in order to finalize the picture: the winner will be able to manage the movie independently. «Ours is a first look – affirms Markus Duffner, section Project Manager – a bet on authors and movies even before the movie is completely finished. Hence the change from Carte Blanche to First Look». This year’s main challenge is dealing with an industry that is already strong and well structured – the South American ones were in development, the Israeli is formed but limited in its scope – as the Polish one, and it’s no coincidence that the filmmakers who are involved this year have an astonishing international résumé. In the previous years this section represented a huge help for the selected industry – I’m thinking about the Israeli Sand Storm, awarded at Sundance, or the Brazilian The Second Mother, a very important trampoline for Brazilian cinema – now the journey is parallel and the partnership more balanced, an extraordinary challenge for both parties.
First Look’s work, finally, is even more fascinating when we can see the strong choice, in a chauvinist cinema like that of today, of focusing on movies directed by women with different backgrounds and high-level profiles. «First Look has become a lynchpin of the Industry Days, thanks to the quality of the selected movies in post-production, the high level of the participants, the efficient partnership between the partners and the professional support of Markus Duffner» confirmed Nadia Dresti, Head of International and Festival del film Locarno Artistic Direction Delegate. And we can’t blame her: First Look, concurrently with the great work Industry section has done in the last few years, represents the deep meaning of Festival del film Locarno, always an important window not only for independent cinema but also serving as a powerful engine for film art and production.