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Carlo Chatrian • Artistic director, Locarno Film Festival

Supporting the diversity in an art form that is often accused of being too homogenous


- Carlo Chatrian took over as artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival after the unexpected departure of Olivier Père last year

Carlo Chatrian • Artistic director, Locarno Film Festival

Carlo Chatrian took over as artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival after the unexpected departure of Olivier Père last year. Cineuropa spoke to him after the announcement of his first lineup.

Cineuropa: What has been the programming philosophy for this year and to what extent has it been guided by the films available?
Carlo Chatrian: The lineup of all festivals, including Locarno, is always the result of wishes and possibilities. I've tried to put the selection in a continuum with past editions. The selected films suggest that cinema is an art form that constantly renews itself, both in debut films and those from experienced names. Locarno is also still a space of freedom, where documentary and fiction, big-budget films and independent work can enjoy the same visibility. This helps underline the idea that Locarno supports diversity in an art form that is too often accused of becoming too homogenous.

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To what extent does the 2013 lineup differ from previous editions?
The names of the various sections and the overall programming structure have not changed. The films are all new, of course, and suggest the taste of those who programmed them. This year, there's a clear distinction between the Cineasti del presente-competition, which is exclusively showing debut films this year, and the Concorso international (international competition), which showcases well-known names such as Corneliu Porumboiu, Hong Sangsoo, Albert Serra, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It'll be up to those visiting the festival to make their minds about what has changed in comparison to previous editions, though I do hope to satisfy the curiosity of the audience, to surprise them and to make them see things they thought they knew in a different light.

Which film in the 2013 selection would you suggest is a good example of a ‘Locarno’ film and why?
It's not really fair to the other films to name one, of course. That said, in terms of production something that's really interesting is Claire Simon's project, which was shot in one place, the Parisian Gare du nord, where she made a fiction film, Gare du nord, which is in competition, and a documentary, Géographie humane, which is out of competition. Also very ambitious is Vijay and I, from Sam Garbarski, which was financed in Belgium and Germany but which is set in New York and stars Moritz Bleibtreu and Patricia Arquette. It suggests that Europe is looking beyond its borders.

How would you like to position Locarno going forward? What's its place in the international festival landscape?
I've inherited the festival in a very good shape and my main aim is to make it an unmissable event for everyone who loves cinema. Our relationship with European cinema is very important for this; we want to continue to improve our position as a place where new directors can get a solid start and where more experienced directors feel at home. In this respect, I'm very happy that we'll have the Europa Cinemas jury in Locarno this year as well.

How important are local audiences?
One of our main assets is our audience, which is curious and willing to go on extreme trips (in the spirit of Werner Herzog, perhaps, one of our honorary guests this year). My hope is that this audience will continue to renew itself year after year and that it won't lose its taste for discovery and its critical perception because a festival can also improve by listening to the feedback of its audience. 

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