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New blood for Locarno film festival

The official poster of the 63rd Locarno Film Festival Festival del Film Locarno

The Locarno Film Festival has revealed its 2010 programme chosen by new artistic director Olivier Père, who wishes to bring youth and diversity to the event.

Founded in 1946, Locarno is one of the oldest film festivals, alongside Cannes and Venice. But Père, 39, will ensure the festival remains young and keeps fighting for its international position despite the crisis, according to festival president Marco Solari.

“This young selection is for young people and people who have remained young,” Solari said at a press conference in Bern on Wednesday.

The ten-day festival, now in its 63rd year, starts on August 4 with the world premiere of Au fond des bois by Benoît Jacquot on the 7,000-seat Piazza Grande.

Père’s aim is to surprise the public, while opening it to discovery.

The main change the former head of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight is making is to reduce the selection of about 100 films “in order to concentrate on quality and diversity”.

All continents are represented with a strong presence from Canada (Curling by Denis Côté) and Romania (Morgen by Marian Crisant and Periferic by Bogdan Apetri) .

Films from young and new directors, such as Pulsar by Alex Stockman, are being put forward among the latest works of long-standing directors such as Luc Moullet, Franco Moresco or Angela Ricci Lucchi.

There is also a wide range of genres, with an American comedy (Cyrus by Jay and Mark Duplass), a French detective story (L’Avocat by Cédric Anger) and an animated film featuring Russian puppets (The Ugly Duckling by Garri Bardine).

“We have chosen to confront the most different yet original films by strong personalities,” Père told

Tributes and special honours

This year’s Leopard of Honour will go to two directors: the Swiss Alain Tanner, who will receive the prize for his life’s work, and the Chinese Jia Zhangke, who, according to Père, is “a major revelation of these past 20 years”.

The festival’s traditional retrospective will be dedicated to the master of comedy Ernst Lubitsch.

The festival will present new copies of all the films of the German-born Jewish director, best known for his To Be or Not To Be (1942).

Tributes will also be made to directors whose paths crossed the festivals: Swiss Michel Soutter or Italian Corso Salani, who died last month aged 48.

The focus of this year’s Open Doors Screening selection is Central Asia. Films from 1990 to 2009 and made in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will be shown.

Aktan Arym Kubat, who had presented his first films at Locarno, will be on the Piazza Grande to introduce his new film, The Light Thief.

A workshop called “producing in Central Asia Today” is being held around the example of Kubat’s film on August 7.

Five crew members, including the film’s director and producers, will take part in the discussion.

Interactive innovation

In its search for renewal and a younger audience, the festival presents various innovations, for instance, a “Summer Academy”.

This pilot project has been created to introduce young professionals and cinema students to established directors.

The festival is also renewing its communication tools. The official catalogue has been revised and is now cheaper and lighter.

An application for iPhones and iPads, which allows you to look up the full programme of screenings, has been launched. Another way of staying in touch with modernity.

Emily Wright,

Leopard of Honour – Swiss director Alain Tanner

Leopard of Honour – Chinese director Jia Zhangke

Rezzonico Prize for Best Independent Producer – Israeli producer Menahem Golan

Excellence Award – French actress Chiara Mastroianni

Retrospective – Ernst Lubitsch

Piazza Grande – 16 feature films

International Competition – 18 films

Out of competition – 26 films

Directors of today – 19 films

Special Programme (Tributes) – 20 films

Leopards of Tomorrow – 64 short films

Open Doors – focus 2010 Central Asia

Swiss works – 34 selected for different arenas

Critics’ Week – 7 documentaries

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR