First Look, the works-in-progress strand of the Locarno film festival’s industry section, is set to highlight independent UK films for its 2023 edition.
Locarno has partnered with the BFI and will select 6 UK films currently in post-production, offering their producers a chance to present the projects to industry professionals attending the Swiss festival. The projects will be presented to an audience of sales agents, buyers, programmers, and representatives from post-production funds.
The festival, located in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, said in a statement that the works-in-progress strand, now in its twelfth year, will celebrate UK filmmaking, which has “played a leading role” in the history of the festival for decades.
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In addition to making physical pitches at the festival, producers will also be able to showcase their projects online through Locarno’s Online Digital Library, reserved for accredited industry professionals who are not attending in person.
Locarno’s First Look has previously highlighted films from Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Israel, Poland, the Baltic countries, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland, and last year, Germany.
Producers can apply through the BFI from today until 30 April 2023. To be eligible, they must be able to provide a rough cut of at least 60 minutes at any stage in the post-production process.
A jury comprising international festival directors and curators will hand out prizes as part of the competition, including The Creativity Media First Look Award, which covers services towards the completion of films in post-production up to the value of $50,000.
“UK cinema has always been able to capture the spirit of the times, to intercept young and emerging cinema,” said Giona A. Nazzaro, Locarno Artistic Director.
“An extraordinary breeding ground for talent – as the recent editions of the Locarno Film Festival have shown – UK film production tirelessly continues to deliver surprises. This is why we are delighted with this year’s First Look, because it allows us to further forge a friendship in the name of young, quality cinema. This friendship with UK cinema is one which we feel certain will be with us for a very long time to come.”
Katie Ellen, Head of Distribution and Commercial Strategy, BFI added: “We enjoy a great relationship with Locarno and are delighted that the festival has offered the UK to be this year’s country of focus for their First Look initiative. We shall be able to uncover new films from some of our most exciting filmmakers at a vital stage in their progression from production to screen. These projects will really benefit from this exceptional exposure to sales agents and festival programmers from around the world, increasing their export potential and audience reach.”
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