Press Releases  ·  10 | 06 | 2021

The Locarno Film Festival puts youth at the heart of its restart

Locarno becomes ever more of a reference point for a new generation of emerging talents

© Roberto Gianocca

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The great restart of the Locarno Film Festival (from 4 to 14 August) also sees the offering for young people come back in full swing, with a range of initiatives for professionals in film, culture and the creative arts. The Locarno Academy will be opening its doors again with its three programs (Filmmakers, Critics and Industry), as will the former barracks in Losone that is set to host the 2nd edition of BaseCamp. Also returning this year will be the valuable consultancy by the Youth Advisory Board, the U30 initiative from Locarno Pro and the days dedicated to Cinema&Gioventù and the Documentary Summer School. Even more than before, Locarno will be a pole of attraction for the new generation of emerging talents in film and in the world of arts and culture.

The success of the Locarno Film Festival over more than seventy years can be put down to its bold and far-sighted spirit, always on the alert and ready for new languages of expression and different ways of seeing reality. That historic approach continues to prosper, thanks to the input of creative energy provided by the hundreds of young people who come from all over the world to gather in Locarno and take part in the programs created specifically for them.

Their contributions are part of the sustainable balance sought by the Locarno Film Festival: they help to shape the identity of the event by bringing in innovative ideas, new cultures and collective imaginations, and by taking part in educational and training programs and activities supporting and promoting the development of emerging cinemas. During the period of the event, Locarno teems with new talents, students and aspiring film professionals who come with the vision, ideas and unique energy that powers the Festival as it looks to the future.

Filmmakers, Critics and Industry – the Locarno Academy is back

The Locarno Academy, the training program dedicated to young film talents from around the world, returns to Locarno with a packed program. In tune with its signature spirit of freedom and inclusivity, the Academy has come up with solutions that will guarantee and enhance in-person participation, strengthening its synergies with other sections of the Festival – especially Open Doors – and introducing major national and international collaborations. The project will maintain its regular format, developed over more than a decade of the programs and marked by the acknowledged quality of content offered, featuring encounters with leading industry personalities attending Locarno, master classes, workshops and networking opportunities for professionals. Details on the program and the line-up of participants in the three Academies – Filmmakers, Critics and Industry – will be made available over the coming days on the Festival website. The Locarno Academy is made possible by support from Fondation Assistance Internationale FAI, Ernst Göhner Stiftung and Volkart Stiftung, and by invaluable assistance, support, and editorial collaboration from other national and international institutions: Fondazione Cariplo, Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence, Realness Insitute and Swatch Art Peace Hotel for the Filmmakers Academyand the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (FOC) / Media Desk Suisse, Europa Cinemas, Europa Distribution and Europa International for the Industry Academy. During the Festival, the Critics Academy joins in editorial collaboration with online and print publications at MUBI, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Variety,, Filmbulletin and filmexplorer, as well as in pitching sessions with Eric Kohn, Executive Editor and Chief Critic of IndieWire, and is organized in cooperation with the Federal Office of Culture (FOC), the Swiss Association of Film Journalists (SVFJ) and the Center for Publishing in the Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

BaseCamp – welcoming young people for a second year

Right from the start, the BaseCamp project engaged directly in promoting the active involvement of young people in the Festival as part of an experimental initiative unique on the international festival scene. This year the former barracks in Losone will cater for some 150 young creative talents, with backgrounds in film and the visual and performing arts. The 2021 edition will have a focus on Swiss creativity, featuring the launch of new partnerships with Switzerland’s leading art and film schools, in particular the HEAD, ECAL, ZHdKHSLU and CISA. The core concept of BaseCamp is total openness towards everything that previously struggled to find space in a “classic” film event: cultural and artistic contamination, research and experimentation. A perfect example of this is the joint initiative that will bring the arts-inspired ideas of BaseCamp into contact with the science-based skills of students from the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) in Basel.
BaseCamp will also help launch a collaboration between the Festival and the new streaming service Play Suisse from national public broadcaster SRG SSR. Young filmmakers attending BaseCamp will be involved in reenacting ten iconic scenes from Swiss film history. Making the video clips will be an integral part of the BaseCamp program, and the results of this creative experiment will be shown on the big screen in Piazza Grande on evenings during the Festival. Among other collaborations, inside the BaseCamp, Swatch Art Peace Hotel will present an exhibition of images and a selection of video artworks, made by the guest artists of the Shanghai residency.
The five young men and women who make up the Festival’s consulting body, the YAB (Youth Advisory Board), will also be involved with BaseCamp this year, tasked with voicing critical opinions and new proposals as the representative mouthpiece of the event’s youth community. BaseCamp is made possible by the Municipality of Losone, Play Suisse SRG SSR, Swatch and its supporting foundations: the Bally Foundation, Else von Sick, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondazione Giovanni Guastalla, Fondazione Cariplo.

U30 – young professionals

U30 will return for a second edition in 2021. U30 offers a platform for young film professionals wishing to voice their concerns on highly topical issues related to the industry. The program acts as a think tank aimed at stimulating the exchange of views and promoting analysis of new strategies to face the challenges of the future. It welcomes around ten European and global participants aged under 30, selected from Industry Academy alumni. U30 also provides perfect opportunities for networking and developing synergies with other industry attendees in Locarno. The initiative takes place with support from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (FOC) / Media Desk Suisse.

Rounding off the Locarno Film Festival’s offering for the younger generations, 2021 sees the return of parallel initiatives Cinema&Gioventù, organized by the Castellinaria International Young People’s Film Festival on behalf of Canton Ticino’s Department of Education, Culture and Sport (DECS) and in collaboration with the Department of Territory (DT), and also the 22nd edition of the Documentary Summer School (DSS 2021), run jointly with the Institute of Media and Journalism (ImeG) of the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), in collaboration with the section Semaine de la critique, in a hybrid presential/online format.

The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will take place from 4 to 14 August 2021. The Festival team is currently working, in full compliance with official health and sanitary guidelines, towards putting on a physical event in 2021. Should those same guidelines so require, however, the Festival reserves the option to make organizational changes which will be announced to the media and the general public in due course

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