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As we look towards Locarno 2020 - For the Future of Films, Locarno Pro remains an international hub for the independent film industry even in this "standby" year. And since the physical version is not feasible, the hub goes digital with the launch Heritage Online, which aims to fill a void within the international film industry, with a platform where past and future go hand in hand.
Locarno Pro, the sidebar of the Locarno Film Festival that focuses on industry professionals, will be part of Locarno 2020 with established initiatives and new ideas. The former will be unveiled in the weeks to come, while the latter is Heritage Online. It is a brand new project, which will be worldwide and active 365 days a year. It aims to bring the past into the future, making it easy to access past masterworks on digital platforms. Once again, and for an entire year, Locarno Pro will remain a meeting point, albeit a virtual one, where the history of cinema gets to meet the universe of video on demand, and the goal is to create the relationships that will open the doors of 120 years of filmmaking to the digital audience.
Head of Locarno Pro Valentina Merli commented: “I am delighted that my first edition at the Locarno Film Festival should see the launch of such a meaningful initiative, which aims to bring film heritage to the audiences of online platforms. The streaming marketplace is playing an ever greater part in daily viewing patterns, which is why Locarno Pro focused on this new development. It is vital that these new offerings extend to include the broadest possible range of genres and titles. In this perspective, Heritage Online will enable all viewers, even those who rarely go to theaters or festivals, to discover films from the past and enrich their cinema experience.”
An innovative service by Locarno Pro
Heritage Online is a service proposed and offered by Locarno Pro, with the aim to expand the horizons of Video On Demand and its global catalogue in order to include the past. This unprecedented tool, a connective tissue that was previously unavailable to the international industry, will ideally bring the Lumière brothers next to the Marvel heroes. Thanks to Heritage Online, rights holders (international sales agents, film archives, institutes, restoration companies) will be able to share their catalogues with potential clients, that is to say VOD platforms, from the giants in the field to smaller entities. By accessing this database of international film history, streamers will be able to view detailed information, including specifics concerning rights, and watch the submitted films.
Heritage Online Project Manager Markus Duffner declared: “Locarno Pro is always responsive to the needs of industry professionals. Its mission is to create tools that help people in film to work even more effectively. Our new project Heritage Online fills a gap in the audiovisual industry landscape and will foster links between rightsholders, VOD platforms and world cinema distribution.”
The two doors of history
The first is for rights holders: by paying a Basic fee, they will obtain an account that will enable them to submit highlights from their catalogue to the platform. A Premium subscription will also include the Screening Room, where they will be able to upload a selection of films, available to potential clients and other subscribers for a 12-month period.
The second door is for streamers, that is to say the various VOD platforms. By creating a private account via free sign-up, they will be able to access the database and, like all other professionals with an account, take part in virtual meetings, pitches and roundtables.
Starting in 2021, Heritage Online will be available via yearly subscription or a Locarno Pro accreditation.
Online in July
Heritage Online will go online in early July 2020, and at that moment professionals will be able to subscribe and upload their catalogue. During the Locarno Pro days (August 7-9), the project will come to life via a specific roundtable, pitching sessions and meetings with professionals. From then on, Heritage Online will become a permanent project within the framework of Locarno Pro.
Locarno Pro will also feature other initiatives, such as Open Doors. Updates will be available in the coming weeks on the Festival's official channels, including the Locarno Pro website.