The Executive Board of the Locarno Film Festival today announced the cancellation of Locarno73 attributing the decision to difficulty in holding the event in its usual form, because of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and today’s decisions by federal authorities regarding major events in Switzerland.
The Festival is reinventing itself, launching Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, an initiative to foster independent auteur filmmaking.
Locarno Film Festival President Marco Solari commented: “Today’s decision from the Federal Council did not take us by surprise. Over the past few weeks the Artistic Director, Chief Operating Officer, and their staff have worked closely with the Executive Board to draw up a range of contingency plans, some of which have of necessity been abandoned in the meantime. At its latest session the Festival’s Board of Governors, having taken into account the persistent health risks, even for gatherings of fewer than 1,000 people, and noting the impossibility of preserving the spirit of Locarno with solutions that at first sight might seem attractive alternatives, decided unanimously to forgo in principle the physical event. The Festival wants to confirm its presence alongside both the public and the film industry, with a project that aims to give a fresh shape, on other stages and platforms, to the values that have hallmarked its history over so many decades.”
Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films will bolster independent auteur filmmaking and cinema theaters via a selection of dedicated projects, offering special content to both industry professionals and the public on a range of platforms which will include — as and when allowed by the constantly evolving situation — screenings at physical venues in complete safety.
The concept of Locarno 2020 is to take action against the film industry’s enforced idleness by supporting filmmakers who have had to interrupt their projects, contributing both to international and domestic productions that have been put on hold because of the global pandemic through special Leopard awards and other prizes.
Artistic Director Lili Hinstin observed: “First and foremost, the Festival is here to help the films, and organizing digital premieres online in August doesn’t strike us as being the best way to do that. Our role is to act as a link between films, industry, and audience, and so we looked at alternative ways of carrying out that mission, assessing where our intervention could be most useful at this time. We are working on developing a coherent project, in line with the history of the Festival, with solidarity as the keynote, that will be good both for our public and for filmmakers in difficulty.”
Chief Operating Officer Raphaël Brunschwig declared: “In the first place our thanks are due to all our partners, who have always been there for us and continue to be there at this time. Our strong, highly motivated team is committed to making the best out of whatever opportunities may be generated by this crisis situation. Our gaze remains directed towards the continuity of the Festival and the challenges it will face in the future, certain to be even more complex after this troubled year.”
The full line-up of projects and initiatives for Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films will be presented over the coming weeks.