Press Releases  ·  16 | 02 | 2024

First Look 2024: Focus on Spanish Cinema

First Look, the Works-in-Progress initiative of Locarno Pro, will focus on Spanish cinema this year. Celebrating its 13th edition during the 77th Locarno Film Festival (August 7 to 17, 2024), First Look is a vital post-production incubator for international arthouse productions, having lent its support to works from the UK, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Israel, Poland, the Baltic countries, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland and Germany in past editions. 

In partnership with the Ministry of Culture, through the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) [Institute of Cinematography and Visual Arts], and ICEX Spain Trade & Investment, First Look (August 9 to 11) will select six films from Spain that are currently in post-production. The projects will be presented by their producers during Locarno Pro, offering them an opportunity to showcase their projects to an audience of international industry professionals such as sales agents, buyers, festival programmers, and representatives from post-production funds. In addition to traditional in-person presentations, producers can also feature their projects in the Online Digital Library of the Festival, reserved for accredited industry professionals.


The focus on Spain follows a long tradition of outstanding Spanish cinema at the Locarno Film Festival. Just last year, Colectivo Negu received a special mention for Negu hurbilak in the Concorso Cineasti del Presente. In the Concorso Internazionale of 2021, Mohamed Mellali and Valero Escolar won the Pardo for Best Actor for their roles in Sis dies corrents (The Odd-Job Men) by Neus Ballús and Espíritu sagrado (The Sacred Spirit) by Chema García Ibarra received a Special Mention. Another successful year for Spanish cinema at the Locarno Film Festival was 2013, when Albert Serra won the Pardo d’Oro for Història de la meva mort (Story of My Death) and Lois Patiño received the Best Emerging Director Award of the City and Region of Locarno for Costa da Morte, ten years before the world premiere of his arthouse hit title Samsara


Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “The Locarno Film Festival has always followed and observed very closely all the many and different shifts in the multilayered and unstoppable Spanish cinematographic landscape. Over these last couple of years, our festival has put on the maps of cinephile and critics alike extraordinary new names such as Laura Ferrés (Goya Award for Best Short and 17 nominations overall), the Colectivo Negu, Chema García Ibarra and, finally, María Gisèle Royo and Julia de Castro with their exuberant On the Go. Established filmmakers such as Neus Ballús got awarded and over the years admired names such as Lois Patiño and Albert Serra have been supported by our festival. Newcomers who made extraordinary short films have also found a place to shine in Locarno. With this year's First Look we seek to establish even stronger ties and relationships with Spanish cinema, while trying to foster new names for the future. Adelante!” 


Markus Duffner, Head of Locarno Pro: “We are thrilled to shift our focus to Spain for the 13th edition of First Look. This initiative is integral to our mission to support the completion of upcoming films and launch the international careers of emerging filmmakers, as well as continue our long-lasting collaboration with ICAA to help upcoming Spanish production companies forge a significant international presence. We hope First Look will offer them the opportunity to establish connections within the global film industry and contribute to their success.” 


Carmen Jordán Asensi, Director for Creative Industries at ICEX: “We are very excited about the opportunity that First Look will bring to Spanish producers. Locarno has become a key meeting point, bringing together every year projects from emerging filmmakers that later will tour the most important international film festivals. We strongly believe in the uniqueness of the aesthetic proposals of our young generation of Spanish filmmakers, who bravely explore non-conventional narratives and new audiovisual languages. Our industry is going through a great momentum and stands out for the diverse and universal stories that are being told. Locarno is definitely the place to be to seek coproducers and build networks with distributors and programmers. This is the first step towards the international success of an outstanding generation of young producers.


Ignasi Camós, General Director of Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) [Institute of Cinematography and Visual Arts]: “The ICAA's commitment to auteur cinema is clear. From our Selective grants to our presence in Festivals, we support and encourage a network of professionals who make a diverse cinema in terms of genre, looks and narratives. We know that Locarno has a special place for these films and in that sense we could not be happier with our commitment to promote and showcase this Spanish cinema that reflects the talent and courage of a new generation of filmmakers.”

How to apply

Producers can apply through Locarno Pro from today until 19 April 2024. To be eligible for selection, producers need to provide a rough cut of at least 60 minutes at any stage in the post-production process. Eligible projects must not yet have an international sales agent already attached and the principal production company for the film must be Spanish.

A jury of international festival directors and curators will award several prizes, including the Antaviana Films First Look Award covering post-production services up to € 50,000; an award by post-production company Laserfilm cine y vídeo worth € 5,000, which can, for example, be spent on subtitles, audio descriptions, spotting lists, transcriptions or a DCP; and the Music Library &SFX/Acorde Award worth € 45,000, consisting in music supervision services at Music Library &SFX ’s labs. 

Like last year, leading industry magazine Le Film Français will offer an award worth € 5,600 of advertising space and Jannuzzi Smith will select one project to win the design of an international poster worth € 10,000.  

The selection, along with the jury members, will be announced in July. The winners will be announced during the Locarno Pro Award Ceremony on Sunday, 11 August. 

Locarno Pro is possible thanks to the support of the Federal Office of Culture / MEDIA Desk Suisse

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