Nadia Dresti, Delegate of the Artistic Direction, Head of International at the Locarno International Film Festival, is passionately dedicated to spotlighting independent filmmakers from countries that face challenges getting their work noticed and distributed. Ms. Dresti and I met at her office a few days before the start of the Festival to discuss the various initiatives that will take place during Industry Days, which runs from August 9-11.
From the Festival Web site:
Industry Days are aiming to play an active role in the support of auteur films: whether launching a new project or extending and optimizing existing services and initiatives, the goal of Locarno’s Industry Office is always to support sales agents, distributors, producers and exhibitors in their respective tasks, ranging from the conception to the release of independent art-house cinema.
The Industry Office of the Locarno Film Festival facilitates networking among world film industry professionals attending the event, supporting producers and agents presenting films at the Festival by connecting them with international sales and distribution professionals and exhibitors.
Dresti: “The difference between Locarno and other festivals, is that here the exhibitors will sit down with others to try to understand each other’s programs. We have more than 200 buyers and sellers attending. The topics include finding the public audience and the home audience.
We understand the challenge of audiences who hardly go to the theaters anymore and watch movies from home.”
Industry Days Initiatives
Step In is an interdisciplinary exchange platform in which international professionals discuss and develop new, promising strategies for distribution, exhibition and sales of auteur cinema.
Dresti: “We will have two panels, one on the South African market and the other on the Brazilian market. This gives the opportunity for an overview of these markets to buyers and sellers in the European industry, as well as to the South African and Brazilian key players from the regions.”
Carte Blanche showcases a number of films in postproduction by emerging talents from a different country in Asia, Africa, Latin America or South-East Europe. This year’s Carte Blanche is dedicated to Brazil.
Dresti: “The idea of Carte Blanche is that since there are buyers and sales companies already in Locarno to buy films at the Festival, they could also buy these Brazilian films that don’t have a distributor yet. It gives the Brazilian filmmakers a good opportunity. At first we were expecting seven producers from Brazil, but thanks to the support of the cinema of Brazil and others, we are very honored that now we have 64 people coming from this country, including buyers from Brazil, producers and journalists. It’s huge.”
Open Doors , a co-production initiative, aims to assist its selected participants, to find support for their projects by offering training and pairing them with potential co-production partners, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Dresti: “We want people to see films at the Festival, but still take the time to sit down and talk. Locarno is the right place; all activities are tailor-made for this to happen. They will meet producers from Open Door and others so they can all understand what the other one does.”
The panelists for this year include Eugene Hernandez (Deputy Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center), Sheila de la Varende (Director, International Promotion, Telefilm Canada), Roberto Olla (Executive Director, Eurimages), Marit van den Elshout (Cinemart Manager, Cinemart Rotterdam), and Monique Simard (President & CEO, SODEC, Canada).
Industry Days is organized in collaboration with Europa International, Europa Distribution and Europa Cinemas, and Festival Scope and FERA.
To learn more about Industry Days and the Locarno International Film visit: http://www.pardolive.ch
Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Susan Kouguell presents international workshops and seminars on screenwriting and film. Author of SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! and THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER, she is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and executives worldwide. www.su-city-pictures.com, http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog .