Press Releases  ·  04 | 05 | 2017

Eight projects and eight producers selected for Open Doors 2017

© Locarno Festival

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The exploration of South Asia continues with a new raft of producers and projects that will be showcased for European and international partners at the Locarno Festival during the 15th edition of Open Doors, to be held from 2 to 8 August 2017.

The approach of in-depth research pursued by Open Doors is built around three distinct initiatives, Open Doors Lab, Open Doors Hub and Open Doors Screenings, all developed over a three-year period (2016-2018) focused on eight Southern Asian nations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Locarno Festival’s Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian commented: “The popularity with audiences and positive critical feedback secured by last year’s selections are a huge encouragement to go on with our research. We are confident that the 15th Open Doors will once again come up with a rich and multi-faceted overview of an area of world where cinema is bursting with new ideas”.

The eight participants selected this year for the continuing training platform Open Doors Lab, for producer-filmmakers active in the local industry, are from the in-focus countries for 2017: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Alongside the surprising new Afghan generation, some of the names have already become familiar on the international scene, such as the Pakistani Jami Mahmood, whose film Moor (2014) was Pakistan’s national entry for the 88th Academy Awards, and Rasitha Jinasena, producer of the film 28 (2014) by Prasanna Jayakody, presented at the Rotterdam Festival in 2015.

Sophie Bourdon, Head of Open Doors, is pleased with the early results from the project’s efforts to open up new prospects for film industries in the countries involved: A perfect example is the young filmmaker from Myanmar, We Ra Aung: discovered at the Open Doors Lab 2016 and later picked for the next edition of La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde at Cannes, he’ll be coming back to Locarno this year for the Open Doors Hub, with his first feature project One Summer Day”.

To learn more about the eight producers selected for the Open Doors Lab 2017, visit the following link

From around the whole of South Asia, projects were selected from 6 countries in all (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), meaning that the Open Doors Hub 2017 will showcase the diversity of new generation talents in the region.

They include Rubaiyat Hussain (Bangladesh), a graduate from the 2016 Open Doors Lab and who has already made an impact with her films Meherjaan (2011) and Under Construction (2015), the latter recently going on theatrical release in France, and previously presented at the 2016 Open Doors Screenings. The filmmaking duo of Bibhusan Basnet and Pooja Gurung will also be in attendance with their first feature project The Whole-Timers (L’Atelier de La Cinéfondation, Cannes 2016), which follows on from their brilliant career in shorts: The Contagious Apparitions of Dambarey Dendrite (presented among others at the Open Doors Screenings 2016) and Dadyaa - The Woodpeckers of Rotha (Venice 2016, Toronto 2016, Sundance 2017).

More information about the eight projects selected for the Open Doors Hub 2017 can be found here.

The Open Doors jury will award prizes to deserving projects from the Open Doors Hub. The Open Doors Grant worth 50,000 Swiss francs is financed by the Swiss production support fund Visions Sud Est (backed by SDC) together with the City of Bellinzona. France’s film and animation center CNC will offer a prize worth 8,000 euros, while ARTE will fund a prize worth 6,000 euros.

Open Doors also includes the sidebar Open Doors Screenings, which gives the general Festival public a chance to see a representative selection of short and feature-length films from Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The titles selected will be announced in the nearest future.

Supported from the outset by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Open Doors’ aim is to provide assistance and visibility for filmmakers and their projects in countries in the world’s South and East where independent cinema struggles to survive.

The Open Doors initiative is organized in close cooperation with the Locarno Festival’s Industry Office and receives support from numerous European and Asian organizations: ACE (Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), Producers Network Marché du Film (Cannes Film Festival), TorinoFilmLab, Festival Scope. Open Doors also benefits from the contribution of Paolo Bertolin, festival programmer and expert on Asia -Pacific cinema.

For more details about Open Doors projects and participants, please visit

The 70th Locarno Festival will be held from 2 to 12 August 2017.