News  ·  18 | 07 | 2023

Projects selected for the second edition of the Locarno Residency

During Locarno76, a Jury of experts will evaluate the projects and select three of them, offering the filmmakers the opportunity to embark on an intense year of writing, exchange, and growth, as they work on shaping their first full-length feature film.

Locarno Residency, Venezia, 2022, © Locarno Film Festival / Sara Bellicini

Following the success of its inaugural edition, everything is ready for the launch of a new Locarno Residency. This innovative residential program provides a unique opportunity for three debut feature film projects to be developed over a twelve-month period, with the guidance and support of industry professionals and experts, in various locations between Switzerland and Italy. Through a partnership with Swiss Life, the Locarno Residency will start during the 76th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, running from August 2nd to August 5th, and will conclude in August 2024. 

The Talents

Among the twelve projects, which include one co-direction, the following filmmakers will be in Locarno to showcase their projects to the jury: Mohammad Reza Fahriyansyah (Indonesia), whose short film Dancing Colors was previously featured in the Pardi di domani 2022 competition; Sameh Alaa (Egypt), a participant of the Filmmakers Academy 2021 and winner of the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film at Cannes in 2020 with I’m Afraid to Forget Your Face; Irati Gorostidi (Spain); Ana Elena Tejera (Panama), who has already presented her work in Berlin and Rotterdam; Boris Hadzija and Hoda Taheri (Germany), selected for Pardi di domani in 2022 with Madar tamame rooz doa mikhanad and in 2023 with Engar madaram geriste bud aan shab; Ayo Akingbade (United Kingdom), whose work has previously been showcased at Cannes; Coline Confort (Switzerland), a former participant of the Spring Academy; Valentina Shasivari (Switzerland), born in Locarno, invited in collaboration with Casa Pantrovà, offered by the City of Lugano in collaboration with the Casa della Letteratura per la Svizzera italiana, the Gruppo registi e sceneggiatori della Svizzera italiana, and Ticino Film Commission; Ben Donateo (Switzerland), a director based in Ticino who took part in the Pardi di domani 2020 competition with Grigio, terra bruciata and participated in the Spring Academy 2022; Mathieu Volpe (Belgium/Italy), who presented his shorts at various film festivals, including Locarno in 2019 with Notre territoire; Maisha Maene (Congo), who featured in Pardi di domani 2022 with Mulika; and Eliza Scanlen (Australia).

The Program

The Locarno Residency’s second edition will begin during Locarno76 with the evaluation and selection of three projects from the twelve presented in front of the jury and other participants. This phase entails individual meetings between participants and jurors, providing an opportunity to discuss and further develop their feature film ideas. Simultaneously, the three winners from the previous edition will present their final pitch to industry professionals attending Locarno Pro, fostering a meaningful exchange with the young talents present in Locarno. On Friday, August 4th, at the Swiss Life Lounge’s award ceremony, the three winning projects (two international and one Swiss) will be announced. One of the winners will also receive the Dopodomani Award, which includes a grant of CHF 3,000. During the cerimony, the winner among the finalists from the first edition will also be announced, receiving a prize of CHF 5,000 to produce their feature film. 

The second phase encompasses a residency program with mentoring for the three selected candidates at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi in Venice in December 2023, as well as online sessions over the following months. Further mentoring will take place in Locarno at the Eranos Foundation in March 2024. Participants will have the valuable opportunity to work on the development and writing of their films with the support of industry professionals. They will also engage with other international young talents and key figures involved in the Locarno Film Festival. Additionally, during their stay in Locarno, they will have the opportunity to participate in the spring events organized by the Festival, interacting with directors and notable figures in the cultural field. The tutors guiding the participants throughout this journey will be Anna Ciennik, Stefan Ivancic, and Tizian Buchi, as in the previous year. 

Finally, after a year of work, the three finalist projects will be presented during Locarno77, and the winner of the Locarno Residency will be announced. 

The Jury

The twelve projects will be judged by: 


Anna Ciennik, Script consultant (France), representing the tutors inside the jury: After graduating from la fémis French film school in 2010 from the production department, Anna Ciennik worked in various capacities for companies and institutions in France and the UK. Anna’s interest for international independent production led her to join Les Arcs European Film Festival as manager of the European Industry events. Between 2017 and 2021, she curated five editions of its co-production markets. In parallel, since 2017, she has developed her work as a script consultant for several development labs including BoostNL, Open Doors, Plot Script Lab, Alpi Film Lab and ESP. Clara Sola by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén and Amparo by Simón Mesa Soto, her first official credits, premiered at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight and Critics’ Week in 2021. Anna is a member of the Collectif 5050 and bit of a language and wine geek. 


David Epiney, Producer (Switzerland): David Epiney was born in Geneva in 1976. After training in drawing and animation, he worked as a graphic designer at Atelier Pfund, before founding production company Alina Film together with Eugenia Mumenthaler in 2008. Their first film – Abrir Puertas y Ventanas by Milagros Mumenthaler – won the Pardo d’oro at the 2011 Locarno Film Festival. They would then go on to produce La Clé de la Chambre à Lessive (Grand Prix SSR at Visions du Réel 2013), Une Jeunesse Allemande by Jean-Gabriel Périot (Panorama, Berlin), La Idea de un Lago (Locarno 2016), Autour de Luisa by Olga Baillif (Mostra Sao Paolo 2017), El Año del Descubrimiento by Luis López Carrasco (Rotterdam, Grand Prix at Cinéma du Réel, 2 Goyas), Azor by Andreas Fontana (Berlinale/Encounters), El Agua by Elena Lopez Riera (Directors’ Fortnight) and Nuit Obscure by Sylvain George (Locarno 2022). David Epiney was also chosen to participate in the Producers on the Move programme at Cannes 2012. 


Claudia Solano, Acquisition Manager (Italy): Claudia Solano begins her career as a personal assistant to a director/producer for his first feature film “Apartment in Athens”, then joins as buyer the Good Films, an Italian theatrical distribution focused on arthouse and new authors. In 2019 she joins Koch Media team, collaborating in parallel as Media Expert for Media Creative Europe for Development and taking care of the artistic direction of two outdoor summer theatres in Rome. Since 2022 she has held the position of Acquisitions Manager for The Match Factory.

For all the details on the selected projects and the Locarno Residency, click here