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Locarno Film Festival Open Doors Lineup Focuses on Caribbean, Latin American Cinema



For the second year running, the Locarno Film Festival is dedicating its Open Doors program, a co-production platform that focuses on cinema from underrepresented countries, to films from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 2023 Open Doors project hub lineup, unveiled Wednesday, includes eight in-development features from across the Americas.

Among the highlights are Milky Waythe latest feature from Costa Rican director Paz Fábrega, whose Cold Water of the Sea won the Tiger Award for best film at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival; the animated hybrid Phantasma by exiled Nicaraguan director Gloria Carrión, whose short Leaves of K. screened in Open Doors last year; the Jamaican drama Raised by Goatsby director Gibrey Allen (Right Near the Beach); animated horror LOA. Kill Your Masters from first-time filmmaker Carlos Zerpa from Venezuela, winner of the 2022 Open Doors’ online script consultancy award in Locarno last year, during last year’s session; and Last of the Kingsa vampire western from Peruvian director Victor Checa, whose debut feature The Shape of Things to Come screened at the Tallinn Black Nights festival in 2021.

Also in this year’s lineup are the Bolivian drama Desidia from director Leandro Grillo, Génesis Valenzuela’s Three Bullets from the Dominican Republic, and Libertinesa drama from El Salvadorian director Leslie Ortiz.

All will compete for the Open Doors Grant, which comes with a $55,000 (CHF 50,000) cash bursary, as well as several other awards, including the $8,500 (€8,000) prize from France’s CNC, Arte France’s Arte Kino International Prize, with its $6,400 €6,000) bursary and in-kind prizes — offered by the Sørfond Film Fund the BrLab, LEXIA Insights, World Cinema Fund the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), IFFR Pro, Moulin d’Andé – CECI, and the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur — all designed to help young filmmakers complete their latest projects.

The Open Doors sessions will also include Locarno’s Producers’ Lab, a series of workshops and discussions aimed at strengthening collaborations between producers in the regions and addressing important topics in the industry. This year’s lab participants will include Guatemalan producer Joaquín Ruano, an executive producer of César Díaz’s 2019 Cannes Camera d’Or winner. Our Mothers; Ana Isabel Martins Palacios from Honduras, producer of Mario Ramos’ La Condesa (2020); and two 2022 Open Doors shorts participants: Haitian producer Samuel Suffren and Daniela Muñoz from Cuba.

This year, Locarno is also launching a third talent development program: The Directors’ Club, which will invite filmmakers to screen their latest shorts and feature as part of the Open Door event and participate in a series of talks, workshops and networking opportunities. The participants and their films will be announced together with the official selection of the Locarno Film Festival on July 5.

The 21st Open Doors event will take place online in July and onsite during the Locarno Pro Days, the festival’s industry-focused section, from Aug. 3 until Aug. 9. The 2023 Locarno Film Festival runs August 2-12.

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