News  ·  17 | 06 | 2021

Locarno, Young People Surrounded by a Festival

The Locarno Film Festival has increasingly become the reference point for new generations and emerging talents

BaseCamp 2019, © Roberto Gianocca

Locarno Academy, BaseCamp, YAB, U30, Cinema&Gioventù and Documentary Summer School. All this, at the Locarno Film Festival, means ‘young people’. Year by year, the Festival has increasingly become an event focusing on them, the young ones. Historically a platform for new cinema, new visions and new horizons, the Locarno Film Festival has, over the last few years, served not only as a springboard for young filmmakers, but also as a training facility and observatory for those wishing to become film, art and culture professionals. In the same spirit as the activities devoted to children, the Festival’s training programs and activities accompany young men and women all the way to the doors of that world Locarno celebrates every summer.

Filmmakers, Critics and Industry – the Locarno Academy is back 
The Locarno Academy, the training program dedicated to young film talents from around the world, returns to Locarno with a packed program. In tune with its signature spirit of freedom and inclusivity, the Academy has come up with solutions that will guarantee and enhance in-person participation, strengthening its synergies with other sections of the Festival – especially Open Doors – and introducing major national and international collaborations. The project will maintain its regular format, developed over more than a decade of the programs and marked by the acknowledged quality of content offered, featuring encounters with leading industry personalities attending Locarno, master classes, workshops and networking opportunities for professionals. Details on the program and the line-up of participants in the three Academies – Filmmakers, Critics and Industry – will be made available over the coming days on the Festival website. The Locarno Academy is made possible by support from Fondation Assistance Internationale FAI, Ernst Göhner Stiftung and Volkart Stiftung, and by invaluable assistance, support, and editorial collaboration from other national and international institutions: Fondazione Cariplo, Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence, Realness Insitute and Swatch Art Peace Hotel for the Filmmakers Academyand the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (FOC) / Media Desk Suisse, Europa Cinemas, Europa Distribution and Europa International for the Industry Academy. During the Festival, the Critics Academy joins in editorial collaboration with online and print publications at MUBI, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Variety,, Filmbulletin and filmexplorer, as well as in pitching sessions with Eric Kohn, Executive Editor and Chief Critic of IndieWire, and is organized in cooperation with the Federal Office of Culture (FOC), the Swiss Association of Film Journalists (SVFJ) and the Center for Publishing in the Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). 

BaseCamp – welcoming young people for a second year 
Right from the start, the BaseCamp project engaged directly in promoting the active involvement of young people in the Festival as part of an experimental initiative unique on the international festival scene. This year the former barracks in Losone will cater for some 150 young creative talents, with backgrounds in film and the visual and performing arts. The 2021 edition will have a focus on Swiss creativity, featuring the launch of new partnerships with Switzerland’s leading art and film schools, in particular the HEAD, ECAL, ZHdK, HSLU and CISA. The core concept of BaseCamp is total openness towards everything that previously struggled to find space in a “classic” film event: cultural and artistic contamination, research and experimentation. A perfect example of this is the joint initiative that will bring the arts-inspired ideas of BaseCamp into contact with the science-based skills of students from the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) in Basel. 
BaseCamp will also help launch a collaboration between the Festival and the new streaming service Play Suisse from national public broadcaster SRG SSR. Young filmmakers attending BaseCamp will be involved in reenacting ten iconic scenes from Swiss film history. Making the video clips will be an integral part of the BaseCamp program, and the results of this creative experiment will be shown on the big screen in Piazza Grande on evenings during the Festival. Among other collaborations, inside the BaseCamp, Swatch Art Peace Hotel will present an exhibition of images and a selection of video artworks, made by the guest artists of the Shanghai residency. 

The five young men and women who make up the Festival’s consulting body, the YAB (Youth Advisory Board), will also be involved with BaseCamp this year, tasked with voicing critical opinions and new proposals as the representative mouthpiece of the event’s youth community. BaseCamp is made possible by the Municipality of Losone, Play Suisse SRG SSR, Swatch, and its supporting foundations: the Bally Foundation, Else von Sick, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondazione Giovanni Guastalla, Fondazione Cariplo.  

U30 – young professionals 
U30 will return for a second edition in 2021. U30 offers a platform for young film professionals wishing to voice their concerns on highly topical issues related to the industry. The program acts as a think tank aimed at stimulating the exchange of views and promoting analysis of new strategies to face the challenges of the future. It welcomes around ten European and global participants aged under 30, selected from Industry Academy alumni. U30 also provides perfect opportunities for networking and developing synergies with other industry attendees in Locarno. The initiative takes place with support from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (FOC) / Media Desk Suisse.

A story signed CISA
Once again, CISA will be in charge of recounting the story of the Festival, day by day, on the hour. Locarno LiveTV by Swisscom, which will guide the audience through the world of Locarno74 with exclusive interviews, live streams, columns and reports, will be put together in cooperation with the students from CISA, who have been the eyes of the Locarno Film Festival for many years now. During the Festival, these young men and women will also take part in Scuole senza frontiere.

Rounding off the Locarno Film Festival’s offering for the younger generations, 2021 sees the return of parallel initiatives Cinema&Gioventù, organized by the Castellinaria International Young People’s Film Festival on behalf of  Canton Ticino’s Department of Education, Culture and Sport (DECS) and in collaboration with the Department of Territory (DT), and also the 22nd edition of the Documentary Summer School (DSS 2021), run jointly with the Institute of Media and Journalism (ImeG) of the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), in collaboration with the section Semaine de la critique, in a hybrid presential/online format.