Locarno Summer Academy
Locarno Summer Academy

The Locarno Industry Office has joined forces with the Locarno Summer Academy to launch the pilot project Industry Academy (8 – 12 August), an educational, multi-disciplinary program for young industry professionals.

I met with Nadia Dresti, (Delegate to the Artistic Direction, Head of International of the Locarno International Film Festival), along with Sophie Bourdon (originator of this project; international sales consultant and former director of Atelier du Cinema European) and Marion Klotz (longtime festivals manager and acquisitions executive at Memento Films), to talk about their new program -- the Industry Academy -- a three-day intensive workshop.

Industry Days

When describing how this pilot program came to be, Dresti states, “We were thinking about what changes do we need in the film industry; and how can you reinvent this industry if you project 10 years ahead from now, because it’s changing so fast.”

Dresti, Bourdon and Klotz explained that their impetus for the Industry Academy was born from the fact that very few European film schools offer courses about the industry. Their goal is to fill this existing gap in film schools by offering a very practical shortcut to the international industry world.

Bourdon: “The idea is to share what is going on -- to compare situations and experiences from Latin America, Europe, and so on, such as new ways of showing films.”

Nine young European professionals starting out in distribution, exhibition, sales and marketing, will meet with seasoned industry professionals from six different countries: Belgium (Damien Le Délézir, Europa International; Vanessa Jarlot, O’Brother), Denmark (Peter Ahlén, Trust Nordisk), France (Océane Portal, Under The Milky Way), Spain (Espinar Gabriel Sanz, The Film Agency), Switzerland (Meryl Moser, Cinerive SA; Frédérick Herren, Cinepel SA; Yves Blösche, Filmcoopi) and UK (Oliver Charles, Peccadillo Pictures).

Mentors and students will discuss challenges and changes they face, case studies, confront their points of views on specific issues and explore new, innovative approaches in sales, marketing strategies, exhibition and distribution, including new platforms.

Sophie Bourdon
Sophie Bourdon

Klotz: “It is important to have the participants active. We hope the Industry Academy will be a mini-lab to focus on exchanges and small group discussions rather than academic teaching sessions. We want to nurture our discussions about the future of distribution and sales by ideas, thoughts and experiences of both beginners and experts!”

Among the guests included are Susan Wendt (Trust Nordisk), Nicholas Kaiser (Memento Films International), Anne Delseth (Directors' Fortnight), Lane Kneedler (AFI Fest), Michel de Schaetzen (O’Brother), Pierre-Alexandre Labelle (Under the Milky Way), Yves Moser (Cinerive SA), Mary Nazari (Pioner Cinema).

Bourdon states: “I sincerely hope this project will be inspiring to these junior professionals, make them realize the important role they play in the career of films and filmmakers and encourage them to join forces and become creative entrepreneurs because their professions have never been so fascinating, open to innovation and new opportunities than today, lucky them!”

Dresti smiles: “We don’t wait to see what will happen in the film industry -- we are taking the bull by the horns.”

To learn more about the Industry Academy:


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