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About First Look on Israeli Cinema

A place of freedom of expression for filmmakers, producers and actors from all over the world, without distinction of ethnicity, religion or nationality.

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Throughout its long history, the Festival del film Locarno has always been a place of freedom of expression for filmmakers, producers and actors from all over the world, without distinction of ethnicity, religion or nationality. Along the way, the Festival has given voice to discomfiting auteurs, neglected film industries and directors who are oppressed and in exile, while avoiding political or ideological exploitation. This was the case in 2007 when the Festival dedicated the Open Doors section to the Mashrek countries (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Egypt), with the 2006 Pardi di domani retrospective “East of the Mediterranean” or with the focus in 2013 on Syrian films, produced despite incredibly difficult conditions. For us, these principles of artistic liberty are a creed that cannot be renounced.

The densely packed program for the upcoming edition contains a selection of Israeli films in post-production, presented for the first time to an audience of professionals so they can find the financing they need for completion. The search for these projects would obviously not be possible without the support of a locally based organization. The presence of the Israeli Film Fund – with whom the Festival del film Locarno, like the majority of international festivals, has an established relationship – is no different from the process followed in the four previous editions, dedicated to Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. As with the previous examples, the decision was made to choose an original and complex film industry on the contemporary scene, with the aim of giving a voice to projects selected by the Festival on purely artistic criteria.

The nature of the project dedicated to Israeli cinema is not a "carte blanche”, since it is not a platform offered to the State of Israel or to the Israeli Film Fund, and because the choice of films in post-production is solely down to the Festival's Artistic Directorate.

For this reason, taking into account the concerns expressed to us by several filmmakers, we have decided to change the name of the initiative to First Look, since the term Carte Blanche is not an accurate reflection of the nature of the project. 

We strongly believe that the section First Look dedicated to Israeli cinema, just like Open Doors Maghreb, and the entirety of what is on offer at the forthcoming edition will represent an important opportunity for debate and dialogue, within the context of cultural enrichment that is and always will be an inalienable quality of the Locarno Festival.

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