Nadia Dresti • Head of Locarno Pro
"The seismic shift in the industry landscape that we anticipated last year has finally happened"
by Vassilis Economou
- In the run-up to the Locarno Film Festival, we spoke to head of Locarno Pro Nadia Dresti to get the lowdown on this year’s edition of the gathering’s industry section
After having launched Locarno’s Industry Days in 2010, Nadia Dresti, who is also the festival’s deputy artistic director, has constantly been expanding the industry section of the Locarno Film Festival. Now the industry events have been rebadged as Locarno Pro (1-7 August), while the same team is still behind it: Sophie Bourdon (deputy head of Locarno Pro, head of Open Doors), Sarah Schiesser (Locarno Pro manager, deputy head of Open Doors), Markus Duffner (First Look and Match Me! project manager), Marcello Paolillo (StepIn project manager), Thibaut Bracq (Alliance for Development project manager) and Marion Klotz (Industry Academy international project manager). We had a chance to talk to Dresti just before Locarno Pro kicked off, to discuss the new challenges and expectations that the team has to face.
Cineuropa: The Industry Days at Locarno have now been rebranded as Locarno Pro; what does this change mean for the festival’s industry section?
Nadia Dresti: Locarno Pro is the new landmark event for film-industry professionals, gathering together the different initiatives and services that professionals have been accessing over the last few years. It aims to further enhance and deepen the connections between the diverse figures who circulate around the films at the festival. Also, Locarno Pro plays an active, 360° role in the support of auteur films. Our goal is always to support sales agents, distributors, exhibitors, producers and filmmakers in their respective tasks, ranging from the conception to the release of independent arthouse cinema in different areas of the world.
For the third year in a row, the Open Doors section continues to explore South Asia; what has the outcome of this initiative been so far?
With its new, three-year concept, the Open Doors section has been able to go beyond supporting filmmakers in making their movies through its co-production platform. It has indeed not only shown the creative richness of this unknown region in India’s shadow, but has also contributed to developing a stronger South Asian community of independent professionals (including creative producers), encouraging regional collaborations and facilitating their access to the international market. We are confident that talents from the region will be even more visible on the international festival circuit in the coming years.
First Look, the works-in-progress section, is maintaining its focus on Europe, this time with Portugal (see the news). What do you expect to discover in this particular film industry that has always been under the festival’s spotlight?
Portuguese film production has grown exponentially in the last five years and is constantly singled out by the most important festivals around the world. First Look will show us the current Portuguese cinema landscape and the several different characteristics that make it unique: four documentaries and two fiction features from different regions will give us a snapshot of this territory’s strong identity.
What do you think the “Brave New World”, which the StepIn section is attempting to explore, will bring to the future of the industry?
The seismic shift we anticipated during StepIn 2017 has finally happened and has completely changed the landscape of the film industry worldwide. On the bright side, there have never been as many opportunities as there are nowadays for producers (although sometimes with a catch), and results at the box office have proven that there’s a huge audience out there which is much more varied in terms of gender, race and so on – and that’s something that we should cater to. On the downside, independent distributors and sales agents are struggling more than ever before. The goal of StepIn 2018 is to assess how the indie players are making the transition to this “brave new world”, and how film markets are changing, or have to change, in order to meet their needs.
Match Me! has had an active presence for four years now, inviting producers from diverse cinematic backgrounds; what results are you expecting?
The aim of the Match Me! initiative, a three-day agenda composed of meetings, professional lunches and panels, is to expand the selected producers’ international network and help them meet their future business partners. The results will probably pay off a couple of years from now, and we are already collecting great feedback from our first few editions.
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