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2022 is a year of celebration. Which makes it hard to resist the temptation to dwell on the past and soak up the tributes and accolades, while neglecting our mission as a festival that looks to the future. We would have our reasons, of course. Not only has our festival survived numerous deep-seated crises in the course of its long history, but it has also emerged stronger each time. The latest such crisis threatened our very existence as a live event. If the Locarno Film Festival is known both Switzerland and worldwide, its fame is due to those who have won so many battles performing their duties over seven decades. My thoughts are with them, and I thank them on behalf of the Board of Directors.
Nonetheless, it should rightly fall to others to lavish kind words and compliments on us. Self-congratulation is not my style. Even at times of achievement, my own personal anxiety tends to make me set aside past successes and look firmly to the present and future, partly because resting on my laurels would mean betraying the trust of those who support this event: political authorities, businesses and in particular the Locarno public, who are so proud of the experimental nature of their festival.
For 75 years, a seat and a screen have been enough to provoke excitement, laughter, emotions and, above all, thought. On stage below the giant Piazza Grande screen, numerous film personalities have spoken. Some of their ideas have been quite brilliant, profound and spiritual; others have been superficial, shallow or simply unattractive. Our Piazza audience have ruthlessly separated the wheat from the chaff.
Looking to the future now means capturing the young, the very young who have a completely different rapport with images. Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence as well as the Metaverse are paving the way for unimaginable developments, including in the world of film and festivals. The task of a festival is no longer just to entertain, it must also educate. Help the next generations to recognize the beautiful, the just, the profound, to hold their heads up high against arrogance and prevarication, and to believe in the values on which all human coexistence is, or should be, founded. A part of the way lies behind us, let us walk on, together.
"If I could pick an enduring legacy, I would want the Festival, however it develops, to continue to be always an instrument of truth and thought, never giving an inch in the battle to defend freedom and human dignity.”
From Locarno on / Locarno off – History and Stories of the Film Festival, by Lorenzo Buccella – Edizioni Casagrande
President Locarno Film Festival