News  ·  10 | 07 | 2024

A Festival of Limitless Possibilities

by Raphaël Brunschwig

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A cultural institution like ours is inevitably called upon to confront the world and its challenges head-on. Yet our specific historical moment makes that task a daunting one. The rapid changes of a complex global situation have provoked seismic shifts in every sphere of the film industry and raised serious questions about the role culture ought to play in society, as well as its modes of production, consumption, and financing.

At the Locarno Film Festival, we remain committed to the belief that, as a non-profit organization, we should be a place where the value of art is not reduced to its marketability as a product, nor to its power to entertain by merely distracting or reinforcing predetermined worldviews.

Cinema is the axis on which the various activities of the Festival must pivot. The core of the Locarno Film Festival will always be the films, which offer the public a remarkable selection of the finest examples of auteur cinema. But world-leading initiatives like Locarno Pro, the platform for industry professionals that acts as a meeting point for the European and international industry, or Locarno Edu and the Locarno Factory, two incubators for the talents of the future which encompass various educational programs as well as the Locarno Academy and BaseCamp, must also necessarily spin on that axis alongside the official selection.

This expanding of the borders of the traditional Festival model is a response to the changes in the world and a defense of our principles. Taken together, these initiatives bolster the idea of a vibrant cultural life, nurture all kinds of emerging talents, and promote positive developments within the industry.

For 11 days in August, Locarno transforms itself into a unique site of intensification – what an impressive concentration of relationships, of stimuli, of ideas! Dialogue and exchange rule the day, connecting different generations and providing the fertile soil from which the future of cinema can grow. The emerging talents that are absorbed into the Festival ecosystem via the Factory may later become part of the Festival’s DNA, whether by showing their films in the program in future editions, covering the Festival as writers, or participating in professional activities during Locarno Pro’s Industry Days.

Locarno Edu shapes the audiences of tomorrow in an even more direct way, with educational screenings for our youngest viewers and their families that focus on curiosity and the spirit of adventurous discovery, giving to younger audiences a dazzling firsthand experience of cinema and promoting in them a nascent love of the visual arts.

As such, in the past few years we have witnessed a rejuvenation of the audience at the Locarno Film Festival: a new and enthusiastic generation of cinephiles attend its screenings, thanks in part to the organizational and strategic efforts we have enacted. The dual pillars of the Factory and Edu, developed together with our partners, have supported this expansion, providing a robust foundation for future activities and initiatives.

Even in the new course we’re charting for the Festival, our organization will continue at every level to adapt to an ever-shifting landscape, listening with the utmost sensitivity to what is happening in the world and responding to it in turn. Ours is lately a world of collective regressions and frightening follies, but a generative structure like the Locarno Film Festival offers, in contrast, a message of hope.

We are aware that, in times like these, the ability to move in unison toward a single goal is in itself an extraordinary achievement. It is thanks to our audience comprised of the public, press, professionals as well as our valued partners with their tangible and intangible support that all this is made possible.

Un grande grazie e arrivederci a Locarno!


Raphaël Brunschwig
Managing Director