Press Releases  ·  19 | 11 | 2015

Open Doors 2016 – 2018: Exploring South Asia

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Starting from the next edition, the Open Doors section of the Festival del film Locarno will be changing its operational format, and will be taking a three-year long look at eight countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Supported since its inception by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Open Doors initiative aims to support and highlight filmmakers and films from the South and the East where independent cinema is vulnerable.

After covering all continents and most regions in the South and the East, from 2016 until 2018 Open Doors will focus its program on a single region, in order to increase and further enhance opportunities for collaboration and exchange for professionals from the region. The initiative will focus on 8 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Carlo Chatrian, the Festival’s Artistic Director, comments: “With this new approach, Open Doors intends to take its support to world cinema a step further. The possibility of working on the same region, over a three-year period enables us to respond more effectively to the needs of professionals and the selected projects. Thus we will be in a better position to help producers and directors to set up working networks so they will arrive at Locarno with all they need to take fullest advantage of the Open Doors experience. The choice of region is part of the Festival’s research remit to explore those national cinemas that are relatively or totally unknown which, in our view, have great potential.

The programme’s new formula will have three dimensions: the Open Doors Hub, Lab and Screenings.

Each year up to 8 projects from South Asian countries will be chosen to participate in the Open Doors Hub (6 – 9 August 2016). The projects’ producers and directors will be able to meet potential co-producers, sales agents and distributors and find funding to make their films.
At the end of the four-day session, the Open Doors Jury will award the Open Doors Prize, worth 50,000 CHF, financed by the Swiss production fund Visions Sud Est (also supported by the SDC) and the City of Bellinzona.

The Open Doors Lab (4 – 9 August 2016) will offer a specially tailored programme for a small group of professionals from some of the region’s countries, with priority given to emerging producers/filmmakers producers, possibly with a project in development. These professionals will also benefit from contact and networking with the Festival’s European and international industry guests. In 2016 the Open Doors Lab will concentrate on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.

These countries will also be highlighted at the Open Doors Screenings, which will present to the Locarno audience a selection of particularly representative films of their cinematic world.

The 2016 edition of Open Doors will be run, for the first time, by Sophie Bourdon, who for the past four years has worked as a consultant for the Festival on Industry activities and on training as part of the Locarno Summer Academy. Sophie Bourdon brings a wealth of invaluable experience from twenty years in international sales (particularly at MK2), co-productions and training as the Director of ACE (Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), following a Bachelor degree in Anglo-American and Cinema studies at the University of Paris X, with an exchange year and intensive training in Communication & Marketing at the CSUF (Los Angeles, California).

Open Doors is organized in close collaboration with the Festival del film Locarno’s Industry Office and enjoys the support of ACE (Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), Producers Network Marché du Film (Cannes Festival) and the TorinoFilmLab.

Applications for Open Doors Hub and Open Doors Lab 2016 can be made, from today onwards, via the site

The 69th edition of the Festival del film Locarno will take place 3 – 13 August, 2016.