Locarno event draws record buyers, sellers

Officials said buyers were mulling over deals longer

LOCARNO, Switzerland – The Locarno Film Festival's revamped industry event attracted a record number of buyers and sellers, the festival said Wednesday, though in comparison with previous years officials said that buyers appear to be mulling over deals longer before pulling the trigger.
 
Locarno changed the role of its long-standing Industry Office this year in order to emphasize a new three-day Industry Days event. According to Nadia Dresti, who heads Industry Days, the initiative allowed industry players to see every in-competition film, every Piazza Grande selection, every premiere during the three days that concluded on Monday. The schedule also included workshops, a co-production forum, and plenty of informal meetings time.
 
According to the official statistics released the festival Wednesday, the new format resonated with industry professionals: more than 900 credentials were issued, including 242 to buyers -- both records. Among those on hand for the inaugural Industry Days event: Wild Bunch, Match Factory, Les Films du Losange, and Beta Film. Dresti said that U.S. based IFC and Visit Films were among those who came to Locarno for the first time this year.
 
"I think this new format, and the interest in what [second year Locarno artistic director] Olivier Pere brings to Locarno are a great success," Dresti said in an interview. "I think this shows that there is a need for something like this to show off independent films at this point on the calendar."
 
But she said it was tough to gauge the event's success by the number of deals made simply because many are still in the works so soon after Industry Days closed. But she said that based on feedback from attendees it's not too early to call the event a success.
 
"Interest will only rise, and we will surpass this year's levels next time," Dresti said.
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