News  ·  28 | 06 | 2023

Locarno's youthful energy: participants selected for the 2023 Academy

The Festival is ready to welcome new filmmaking, criticism, and industry talents from around the world to its three training academies during Locarno76 (2-12 August). Read below about their various backgrounds and other updates on the selection.

Alexander Sokurov & Locarno Academy, © Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press, 2022

Among the driving forces that give youthful energy to the Locarno Film Festival is the Locarno Academy, which has for more than a decade represented an unprecedented experiment in the landscape of international film events. The project not only incorporates an extensive and enviable training dimension, with a program of unique, high-profile masterclasses and prestigious opportunities for the participants to enhance their skills, but also serves as a space for young talents to truly connect with the world of cinema and festivals in a direct manner, finding themselves part of a small but vibrant community of film lovers and professionals. This might mean they engage in close dialogue with some of the most important directors of our time, or that they establish direct contacts with renowned professionals in the industry, or simply that they form creative alliances and friendships endure for the future. All are opportunities for growth, which the organization of the Locarno Academy helps manage by carefully selecting the most suitable candidates to make the most of the opportunities on offer. Those selected have long brought something of themselves to Locarno and thus enriched Locarno with new realities. 

Filmmakers Academy 2023, experimentation and hybridization to redefine the boundaries of cinema

The Filmmakers Academy serves as a place of meeting and discovery for emerging directors who are about to make their first feature film. Over the past decade, many participants have made a name for themselves on the international circuit, returning in some cases to Locarno with their directorial debuts, as is the case at Locarno76. "This year, the increasing number of women filmmakers all over the world is also confirmed in our selection, with female candidates becoming the majority for the first time", explains project manager Stefano Knuchel. "But it's not just about numbers: the quality of the proposals is equally convincing, and this year, out of the 20 selected talents, the Filmmakers Academy will welcome 14 women directors". Among the new trends emerging from this selection is "a growing attention to new forms of cinematic language, a true explosion of experimentation and hybridization of visual languages. There is a real need to break free from the usual codes of authorship, a desire to redefine what is considered cinema". Discover the selected profiles here.

Industry Academy, fostering a more informed industry

The area dedicated to figures in film production and distribution has experienced recent growth, expanding throughout the year with new Industry Academies scattered worldwide. These experiences have led to decisive encounters, often resulting in award-winning films in the festival circuit. "We are very happy about the diversity and complementarity of this year’s participants of the Industry Academy", explains project manager Marion Klotz regarding this year's selection. "Being a program for young industry professionals, we do not focus on a specific area of the Industry but give our alumni an overview of the industry ecosystem and how each branch works and articulates with others. Our delegation is a perfect reflection of this ecosystem each year". In addition to sales agents, distributors, marketing executives, and festival and market professionals, this year there will also be two representatives from the exhibition branch, a key element of the distribution chain. Discover all the names here.

Critics Academy, where the young heart of film criticism beats powerfully

"The Critics Academy this year will be populated by gifted young critics with backgrounds that complement and enrich the field of film criticism, from experimental filmmakers to independent magazine editors to art curators to architects-in-training", explains Christopher Small, who runs the Critics Academy. “This openness in the selection allows for a more diverse approach to the films in the Locarno 2023 program, reflecting in an even more eclectic manner the free and increasingly heterogeneous nature of the working lives of film critics. What unites all of our selected participants this year is a love for the art form that Manny Farber once called the “most perfect”— writing about the movies.” he continues. As the world of cinema and film criticism becomes increasingly fragmented and precarious, the Critics Academy continues to serve as a bridge between discrete national film cultures: a meeting place for the young critics who will together imagine for us our collective future. Following the 2022 Sight & Sound ranking of the best films, where no Latin American films appeared in the top 100, and the Locarno76 retrospective dedicated to Mexican popular cinema, this year three Latin American critics will join the workshop in Locarno, hailing from Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico. For the list of selected profiles, please visit this page.