Open Doors 2016-2018: following the pathway of discovery in South Asia, with a new focus for 2017

Open Doors Activity 2016

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© Festival del film Locarno

A new three-year formula was introduced in 2016 for Open Doors, the Festival del film di Locarno sidebar in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The sidebar’s brief is to foster independent cinema and offer visibility to directors and filmmakers from countries in the South and East of the world, and in 2017 it is set to build on the success of the new formula by continuing its three-year research pathway on eight Southern Asian nations, with a special focus on Afghanistan, Maldives Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

This will be the fifteenth edition of an initiative, which from the outset has enjoyed the collaboration of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The main features are Screenings for the public, the Lab (dedicated workshop for emerging producers and filmmaker-producers) and the Hub, an international platform bundling eight selected projects from the region in focus, with a view to fostering partnerships and sourcing international funding for completion.

In line with the new formula established for 2016 to 2018, Open Doors is dedicating its program to a single global region for three consecutive years, further expanding the scope for partnership and exchange between industry players in the sector. The current three-year focus of the sidebar is on eight nations in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director of the Festival: “The new concept for Open Doors addresses a twofold challenge: to investigate what is still a young world region in film industry terms, and to pursue an in-depth project with film professionals over a three-year period. Early results point to the first challenge having been faced with great success, not just because of the range and variety of the projects and talents involved, but also in terms of the interest generated with audiences by the Open Doors Screenings. With a view to the next edition, we look forward eagerly to seeing how the debates and contacts which emerged this year will progress, and to following the response from interested industry players in respect of the coming year’s specific focus, which will deal with countries undergoing political and social instability. At all events, experience has shown that difficult situations of the kind can sometimes give artists a sense of urgency that leads to even bolder and more exciting work.” 

The program for Open Doors 2017 comprises three initiatives:

The Open Doors Hub (2 – 9 August 2017) will offer an international platform to 8 projects from throughout the region, enabling participating filmmakers and producers to meet potential co-producers, sales and distribution agents, with a view to fostering partnerships and obtaining completion funding for their projects. At the end of the initiative the Open Doors jury will award the Open Doors prize worth 50,000 Swiss francs, offered by the Swiss film production fund visions sud est (also supported by SDC) and by the City of Bellinzona. 

The Open Doors Lab (2 – 9 August 2017) will provide a program specially tailored for a select group of emerging producers and filmmaker-producers who aspire to gain a foothold on the international scene. These participants will be offered both individual and group sessions, together with networking opportunities with guests from the European and international film industry, with a view to developing their professional profile as well as their individual projects. Following on from the 2016 focus on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal, the Open Doors Lab will next turn the spotlight on Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These four countries will also be at the heart of the program of Open Doors Screenings, which will present to the Locarno audience a selection of films that are particularly representative of their respective film worlds.

Applications for the 2017 Open Doors Hub and Open Doors Lab will be received from 10 November 2016 to 7 February 2017, c/o www.pardo.ch/opendoors

Open Doors also extends its outreach program to assist industry players in the nations in focus by organizing seminars and workshops in the region concerned, thanks to partnerships with local festivals such as Beskop Tshechu (Bhutan), Ekadeshma International Film Festival (Nepal), MEMORY ! International Film Heritage Festival (Myanmar) and Human Rights Film Festival Colombo (Sri Lanka).

The Open Doors initiative is organized in close collaboration with the Industry Office of Festival del film Locarno and enjoys support from numerous European bodies, including ARTE, CNC, EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), Producers Network – Le Marché du Film (Cannes Film Festival), TorinoFilmLab and Festival Scope.

Open Doors 2016 on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eer7wYou69k

The 70th Festival del film Locarno will run from 2 to 12 August 2017.

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