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LOCARNO 2021

Giona A Nazzaro is the new artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival

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- The general delegate of the International Critics' Week in Venice succeeds to Lili Hinstin at the head of the Swiss event

Giona A Nazzaro is the new artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival
The new artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, Giona A Nazzaro (© Locarno Film Festival)

At the press conference on Thursday morning, held in the legendary Sala del Rex in Locarno, the tension was palpable. After a 2020 online edition marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, and even more so by the unexpected departure of its artistic director Lili Hinstin on 24 September (after only two editions), the Locarno Film Festival was longing to get back on its feet. Giona A Nazzaro, film critic of Italian origins born in Zurich in 1965, was unanimously chosen as the "spokesperson" of this rebirth.

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General Delegate of the International Critics' Week at the Venice Film Festival since 2016, member of the artistic committee of IFFR - International Film Festival of Rotterdam (2020), as well as member of the selection committee of Visions du Réel between 2010 and 2020 and moderator of the Locarno Festival, Nazzaro is certainly no newbie. He has also collaborated with several film festivals such as the Turin Film Festival, the International Festival of Rome and the Festival dei Popoli of Florence.

Nazzaro conceives cinema at 360°, without barriers of genre or format. In this regard, he was one of the first to introduce the study of Hong Kong cinema in Italy and to deepen the research on new strategies of serial narration in television. Also a member of the CFC Federal Film Commission, Nazzaro commented: "It is an honor to head the Locarno Film Festival, an institution that has always promoted auteur and quality cinema, and today more than ever a laboratory of great vitality looking to the future of the moving image. I will immediately get to work in the hope of being able to reopen the Piazza Grande, the beating heart of the event and a symbol of the resistance of cinema”.

According to the President of the festival Marco Solari, Nazzaro has all the qualities necessary to direct a cinema event of the caliber of the Locarno Film Festival: a marked sensitivity for the kind of films dear to the festival, independent and of quality; a particular attention to the Piazza Grande; an adaptable character with a strong experience in the digital field; in-depth knowledge of the festival’s structure; as well as a feeling of respect and gratitude towards the various sponsors and the public, the nerve centre of the Locarno event. Solari said: “In Nazzaro we have a person who fully corresponds to the artistic profile of the festival. He is competent, a great connoisseur of our event, and equipped with the planning skills necessary for the indispensable future innovation of the festival in the digital field. Nazzaro has an international mentality and, at the same time, a strong bond with Ticino and Switzerland".

Giona A Nazzaro will take up his duties on 1 January, 2021. In the meantime, he will work in tandem with Nadia Dresdi, interim manager of the festival artistic direction until the end of the year. Dresdi will remain responsible for coordinating Locarno Pro over the next few months, while waiting for the Festival to announce the name of the next director of its Industry section.

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(Translated from Italian)

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