Press Releases  ·  24 | 07 | 2023

Maja Hoffmann designated as president of the Locarno Film Festival

The Board of Directors of the Locarno Film Festival has unanimously approved the name put forward by the appointment committee tasked with finding a successor to Marco Solari. Maja Hoffmann, founder of the LUMA Foundation, is the proposed candidate who will stand for approval at the next Extraordinary General Meeting.

©Annie Leibovitz

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Today, 24 July 2023, the Board of Directors of the Locarno Film Festival met to discuss the succession proposal of Marco Solari as president of the Festival. In accordance with the procedure laid down in recent months, the appointment committee, whose members are Edna Epelbaum and Francesco Lurati, with Mario Timbal as coordinator, had drawn up a short list of possible candidates, headed by Maja Hoffmann, who was approved unanimously by the Board of Directors.

Maja Hoffmann is therefore set to become the first woman to take on the role of president of the Locarno Film Festival.

Departing president Marco Solari will assist Ms. Hoffmann during the transition phase, which will begin following the close of this year’s 76th edition of the event.

Maja Hoffmann thanked the committee and the Board of Directors of the Locarno Film Festival for having chosen her as designated president: "My thanks go to the appointment committee and the Board of Directors for the trust they have shown in me. After spending many years exploring and putting into practice a range of projects, both in Switzerland and abroad, I am pleased to be able to put my experience and knowhow at the service of the future of this prestigious Festival, and so help foster the development of culture in Switzerland. Locarno has always displayed a robust identity, which is vital to strengthening the positioning of the Festival internationally.

"This designation, together with the revised forms of governance, will guarantee for Canton Ticino and Switzerland a robust Festival with enormous potential. I am delighted that Maja Hoffmann has accepted, because I am quite certain that her exceptional experience in the art, film and multimedia fields will enable her to lead the Festival towards a new phase in its history, in a scenario where the fundamental requirement is to focus on the excellence of our cultural offering.” – Marco Solari, outgoing President of the Locarno Film Festival.

In addition to the proposed candidacy of Maja Hoffmann, a series of changes to the Festival’s governance will be submitted to an Extraordinary General Meeting on 20 September next. If approved, the overhaul will see the membership of the Board of Directors reduced from 27 to 7, while two new consultative bodies will be introduced: the Policy Advisory Board and the Industry Advisory Board. Thanks to their specific sectorial expertise, the two new boards will provide support for the Board of Directors in its strategic planning. As of now, the Board of Directors wishes to thank Marco Solari for the fundamental contribution he has made to the event during more than two decades as president, and for the skillful way he has led the work of its directors, guaranteeing the growth and development of the Festival in the new millennium and consolidating its position at the international level.

Maja Hoffmann – bio

Maja Hoffmann (born 1956) is the founder of the LUMA Foundation, one of the leading private-sector cultural projects in Europe, which since 2004 has fostered artistic creation in the visual arts. As its president, Hoffmann has led the Foundation’s mission from the beginning, tackling urgent issues affecting culture, nature, scientific and ecological experimentation, and at the same time promoting new structures for innovation and positive change. Among the artistic programs and projects that have won plaudits for LUMA are initiatives such as the direction and production of the art biennale Elevation 1049 in Gstaad, or the programming for LUMA Westbau in Zurich. Hoffmann is also actively involved in a raft of institutions at the international level: she is president of the Swiss Institute New York (USA) and of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles (France), vice-president of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation Collection in Basel (Switzerland) and a board member at the Serpentine Galleries in London (UK), the Kunsthalle Zürich (Switzerland), the New Museum  and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, both in New York State (USA), and she is member of Human Rights Watch.

The 76th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, with Marco Solari as president, will take place from 2 to 12 August 2023.