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After eleven days of the delights of the big screen, yesterday, Saturday 12 August, brought the 76th edition of the Locarno Film Festival to a close, rounded off by the announcement of this year’s prize winners and the triumphant award of the Pardo d’oro – the Festival’s top “Golden Leopard” prize – to Mantagheye bohrani (Critical Zone) by Ali Ahmadzadeh. The Prix du Public UBS went to Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, and the Variety Piazza Grande Award to Čuvari formule (Guardians of the Formula) by Dragan Bjelogrlić.
The impressive attendances in theaters and in the Piazza Grande point up the success of a cinema offering that brings together some of the highest profile names in auteur filmmaking, alongside emerging and independent talents, in a remarkable blend of very different genres and formats.
The total audience at all screenings was 146,930 (86’530 in theaters and 60’400 in Piazza Grande), an increase of 14.3% as compared to 2022. For professional attendees, accreditations (including online) were up by 31%, reaching a total of 4,639, of whom 1,530 were film industry representatives and 783 were journalists and photographers. Training and educational initiatives boosted the youth presence, from children to young adults: taking into account the raft of initiatives offered by the Locarno Academy, BaseCamp, Locarno Kids and Atelier du Futur, over a thousand young people and children took part. Once again meticulous planning ensured that the Rotonda by la Mobiliare was an attractive leisure and meeting space adjacent to the Festival, and its music, arts and entertainment program brought in 105,000 participants, an increase of +62% over the previous edition.
Departing president Marco Solari had this to say about his final edition at the helm: “My goal was that before ending my tenure I should see the Festival strong enough to position itself – and Switzerland – among the most significant cultural attractions at global level. The results of this 76th edition, achieved by an enormous team effort, confirm that Locarno is increasingly a strategic asset for the film industry, and the impact of that can only be beneficial at both local and national level.”
Artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro declared: “This was an edition hallmarked by love for the cinema, and it won over audiences and reasserted – yet again – the centrality of the Locarno Film Festival. The list of prize winners goes to show that cinema is alive and well and far from complacent, ready to capture the complexities of the present and engage with the filmgoing public in an impactful and motivated conversation. Crunching the numbers from this edition, a true picture emerges of the exciting success achieved by the long year of work that led up to Locarno76.”
Managing Director Raphaël Brunschwig expressed his initial response to this year’s Festival: “We’re so grateful to all those who made this successful edition possible – public, partners, press, industry attendees and our suppliers – and together with the whole Festival team I can say we’re ready to begin another chapter in the extraordinary history of the Locarno Film Festival”.
Locarno Pro, is increasingly a key event in the film industry calendar
Locarno Pro also reported an exceptional increase in its attendance figures. The international networking platform for cinema professionals from around the world saw an overall increase in participants of over 10%, with 1,530 industry attendees, including 1,460 in person and 70 online. From 3 to 9 August Locarno became a hub for personalities from some 100 countries, who took part in over 1,000 initiatives, including an enlightening encounter with producer Ted Hope at the interdisciplinary think tank StepIn, reported by the main trade press titles at global level.
This impressive performance in terms of both attendance figures and media recognition clearly reflects the centrality of Locarno in the Swiss and international cultural landscape: there could be no better premise for the next steps the event will take, under the new Board of Directors led by Maja Hoffmann.
For the official prize list of the 2023 Festival, plus press coverage, photo gallery, and conversations between the public and recipients of tributes and awards, visit www.locarnofestival.ch.
The 77th Locarno Film Festival will take place from 7 to 17 August 2024.