Press Releases  ·  22 | 07 | 2021

The Locarno Film Festival’s Leopard Club Award goes to Kasia Smutniak

Kasia Smutniak, defined by artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro as “a skilled, very personal actress”, will receive the Leopard Club Award at the 74th Locarno Film Festival (4-14 August 2021). The award ceremony, slated for the evening of Friday 6 August in Piazza Grande, will be followed on Saturday 7 August by a conversation with the audience, moderated by Piera Detassis, at the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare, plus a screening of the film Nelle tue mani by Peter Del Monte. 

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If there’s one face that, by sheer determination and force of persuasion, has impressed itself upon Italian cinema in recent years, it’s that of Polish-Italian Kasia Smutniak. After a career as a model she began acting in Italy, working both with established directors, such as the Taviani brothers (Wondrous Boccaccio, 2015) and Paolo Sorrentino (Loro, 2018), and with acknowledged comedy drama specialists such as Paolo Genovese (Perfect Strangers, 2016). She has also been a high-profile star of TV series – In Treatment, (Saverio Costanzo, 2013-2017); Devils (Nick Hurran, Jan Michelini, 2020-); Domina (David Evans, Claire McCarthy, Debs Paterson, 2021-) – and left her mark on international cinema (From Paris With Love, Pierre Morel, 2010; Dolittle, Stephen Gaghan, 2020). The Leopard Club Award, named for the official association of supporters of the Festival, will pay tribute to an actress who is pursuing a determined, steady career, capable of conveying to moviegoers the urgency and vibrancy of a much-loved kind of Italian cinema, which has found in Smutniak a highly appreciated performer.  

Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “As a skilled, very personal actress who carefully manages her presence and her performing choices, Kasia Smutniak’s talent is plain to all. Her ability to move between committed cinema, drama, comedy and television, always flexible and refined in finding the right register, has allowed her to establish herself as one of the most interesting and exciting names in Italian and European cinema. Her already rich and diversified filmography bears witness to the efforts of a performer who has ceaselessly queried the nature of her role as actress, while maintaining a dialogue with her public. Kasia Smutniak is a modern talent and we are pleased to be able to celebrate her at a time when she is yet again taking on fresh challenges in her career.” 


The tribute program

On Friday 6 August the Leopard Club Award will be given to Smutniak in the magical setting of the Piazza Grande. On Saturday 7 August the actress will meet festival-goers at the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare, for a panel conversation in which she will review her career to date, moderated by David di Donatello Academy President and Editor at Large Hearst Italia Piera Detassis. 

On the same Saturday at 3 pm in the PalaCinema 1 there will be a screening of a landmark performance in Smutniak’s career on the big screen, in a film which brought her first Nastro d’argento award: 

  • Nelle tue mani, Peter Del Monte – Italy – 2007 

The screening of this film will also commemorate the death last May of its director. 

To learn more about the events dedicated to Kasia Smutniak and see the full program for Locarno74.

Kasia Smutniak - bio

Born in Warsaw in 1979, Kasia Smutniak inherited a passion for flying from her father, a commander in the Polish Airforce, and earned a glider pilot’s license when aged only 16. Still in her teens, she began working as a model. A lifelong movie fan, she studied acting and made her big screen debut at the age of 21. In 2008 she picked up her first award, a Globo d’oro for best newcomer, for her performance in Peter Del Monte’s Nelle tue maniShe went on to work with various Italian and international directors in films such as Caos calmo, with Nanni Moretti (Antonello Grimaldi, 2008), Tutta colpa di Giuda (Davide Ferrario, 2009), La passione (Carlo Mazzacurati, 2010), Il quarto stato (Dennis Gansel, 2012), Tutti contro tutti (Rolando Ravello, 2013) and Benvenuto Presidente! (Riccardo Milani, 2013). She has also acted in several successful TV series, such as Volare - La grande storia di Domenico Modugno (Riccardo Milani, 2013), In Treatment, an Italian localization of the U.S. hit, and Limbo (Lucio Pellegrini, 2015), for which she won a best actress award at Roma Fiction Fest. In 2014 she won a Nastro d’argento award as best leading actress for Fasten Your Seatbelts by Ferzan Özpetek and in 2018 another, as best supporting actress, for Loro 1 and Loro 2 by Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino. In 2019 she appeared in Dolce fine giornata by Jacek Borcuch. She is the female lead in Pantafa by Emanuele Scaringi (2021), as also in the latest film from Silvio Soldini, which recently completed shooting, and is in the cast of the film Il colibrì by Francesca Archibugi, adapted from the novel by Sandro Veronesi, translated into English as The Hummingbird, which won the 2020 Strega Prize. 

Leopard Club

Founded in 2008 by its President Rolando Benedick, the Leopard Club is the official supporting association of the Locarno Film Festival.  

The Club succeeded, thanks to the contributions of its members – who enjoy a bouquet of exclusive privileges ensuring their Festival experience is absolutely unique – immediately in its mission of securing significant financial support to the Festival, consolidating its role as a major backer for future development of the event. 

Important info

Please visit the official website of the Locarno Film Festival for the latest news on current COVID protection measures in Piazza Grande and at the Forum @Rotonda, as at all other Festival venues as well.