Locarno Festival Unveils Films After Tomorrow Lineup

Locarno 2020 Films After Tomorrow
Courtesy of the Locarno Film Festival

New projects by Lucrecia Martel, Lav Diaz and Miguel Gomes are among the 20 projects picked for Locarno's alternative section, which will present films forced to stop production because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Locarno International Film Festival has unveiled the 20 projects that will make up its Films After Tomorrow lineup, features that were forced to stop production because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Locarno lineup, announced Thursday, includes new features from arthouse faves Lucrecia Martel (Zama, The Headless Woman), Lav Diaz (Season of the Devil, The Woman Who Left), and Miguel Gomes (Arabian Nights), as well as projects from newcomer and up-and-coming auteurs.

Two juries of film professionals will judge the projects and, on Aug. 15, award cash prizes intended to help the winners complete their films.

Two Pardo 2020 awards, each worth 70,000 Swiss francs ($74,000), will be given to the best international and best Swiss projects. A 50,000 Swiss francs ($53,000) Campari Award and a 30,000 Swiss francs ($32,000) Swatch Award will go to selected international projects. Swiss broadcaster SRG SSR will also honor a Swiss project with a promotional television campaign valued at 100,000 Swiss francs ($106,000).

Locarno artistic director Lili Hinstin and the Locarno Film Festival selection committee picked their 20-strong lineup — 10 international projects and 10 Swiss projects — from among 545 submitted projects coming from 101 different countries.

The 10 international projects include Lucrecia Martel's Argentine/U.S./Dutch feature Chocobar, Juliana Rojas' Brazilian drama Cidade;Campo, The Fabric of the Human Body from directors Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Eureka by Argentine director Lisandro Alonso, the German/French production Human Flowers of Flesh by director Helena Wittmann, the French/Chinese feature I Come From Ikotun by Wang Bing, Lav Diaz's When The Waves Are Gone, Nowhere Near by director Miko Revereza, Little Solange from French filmmaker Axelle Ropert, and the Miguel Gomes-helmed project Savagery.

The 10 Swiss projects include the Andreas Fontana-directed Azor, Michael Koch's A Piece of Sky, Far West by Pierre-Franc?ois Sauter, A Flower in the Mouth from director Eric Baudelaire, Mohammed Soudani's L’Afrique des femmes, Les Histoires d’amour de Liv S. from director Anna Luif,  Raphae?l Dubach and Mateo Ybarra's Lux, Olga by Elie Grappe, Cyril Scha?ublin's Unrest, and Zahorii, directed by Mari Alessandrini.

All 20 projects are in various stages of development, with some having already begun shooting and others still in the script stage. The filmmakers will present their idea for their finished films to the juries that will then select which projects to back.

Hinstin came up with this unusual approach to a film festival in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the crisis it triggered in the independent industry. While the virus forced Hinstin to cancel the physical version of Locarno this year, she was determined to find a way to support arthouse directors hit hard by the global lockdown.

"Our role as a festival is to build a bridge between films, industry and audience, and so we have tried to find alternative ways of pursuing that mission in a year fraught with difficulties for films and the film business everywhere," Hinstin said.

The Locarno 2020 audience will be able to access a presentation of the selected projects on the festival's website from Aug. 5 until Aug. 15. During the same period, some of the selected filmmakers will hold online masterclasses open to the public, discussing their work and reflecting on what the future may hold for cinema.

Directors will also present finished films, just not their own. In another innovation, Locarno has asked the selected directors to pick their personal favorite title from previous Locarno festivals which will make up the 2020 program. All these titles will be available to screen during the festival. Locarno will announce this "best of" lineup next month.