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Altogether, Locarno Pro saw a growth of over 10% in attendees and welcomed 1,530 people at the event, with 1,460 of them attending on the ground in the Swiss town and 70 of them online. This in comparison to a total of 1,377 (1,266 onsite, 111 online) in 2022.
Around 100 countries were represented between August 3 to 9, with over 1,000 pre-scheduled meetings taking place. During five days of industry screenings, two more compared to last year, a total of 72 films were presented to the international film industry.
Some of the highlights this year included the much talked about StepIn introduction and masterclass by producer Ted Hope in which he shared his views on the independent film industry, panels about financing and coproduction opportunities in the UK, regional funds and monority coproduction and new financing opportunities in Switzerland, and a round table talk about the various roads leading to awards with producers such as Maren Olson (Triangle of Sadness) and Marianne Slot (Dancer in the Dark).
The Festival also introduced its very first Heritage Monday, a special day focused on the classics, with two panels hosted by film critic, historian and artistic director of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival Jay Weissberg, and the screenings of a total of 13 restored films, ready to hit the market again.
On Sunday, 6 August, Locarno Pro’s work-in-progress section First Look with a focus on the UK this year, came to a close with the documentary Mother Vera by Cécile Embleton and Alys Tomlinson and produced by Laura Shacham scooping the Creativity Media First Look Award worth €50,000 of post-production services, and No Ifs Or Buts directed and produced by Sarah Lewis (Felt Culture) and co-produced by DoBeDo received both the Jannuzzi Smith Award - worth €8,500 for the design of an international poster - and the award by leading industry magazine Le Film Français, which consists of advertising space to a value of €5,600.
Meanwhile, the three-day co-development platform Alliance 4 Development concluded with awards for Pas Ta Maman by Michèle Flury; La P’tite (The Young One) by Despina Athanassiadis; WHO/MAN by Lorenz Merz; and Objet a by Ann Oren.
Brazilian classic Mulher de verdade (1954) by Alberto Cavalcanti was announced the very first winner of the annual Heritage Online Restoration Contest, meaning it will enter a restoration process with partner Cinegrell. The restored version will be shown at the Locarno Film Festival in 2024.
For the second of its three-year cycle, Locarno Pro’s talent development program for artists from underrepresented communities Open Doors focused on the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Open Doors wrapped on Tuesday 8 August with its award ceremony, where, among others, the Open Doors Grant for developement and production with a total of CHF 50’000 was divided among three projects: Pantasma (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras) directed by Gloria Carrión and produced by Leonor Zúniga received CHF 25,000; Tres balas (Three Bullets) from Dominican director Génesis Valenzuela and producer Wendy Espinal received CHF 20,000; and Bolivian-Chilean coproduction Desidia directed by Leandro Grillo and produced by Alejandra Antequera received CHF 5,000.
A selection of events are still accessible for accredited professionals until May 2024 in the Reserved Area. There, the Online Digital Library with a large selection of films from the Locarno76 official selection is available until 31 August.