Locarno Film Fest Announces Carte Blanche Titles

Piazza Grande
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Locarno's vast open-space screening area the Piazza Grande will welcome several current Hollywood films including J.J. Abrams' "Super 8,"  Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis comedy "Friends With Benefits" and "Cowboys & Aliens."

UPDATED: Writer-director Enrique Rivero's sophomore drama "Mai Morire" is included among the Mexican titles chosen.

ROME/MEXICO CITY -- The Locarno Film Festival announced Tuesday that the second edition of its Carte Blanche initiative would focus this year on Mexico, featuring seven projects in post-production with the aim of facilitating meetings with buyers and a 10,000 Swiss franc ($10,000) prize for the project deemed as the best.

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The Carte Blanche initiative focuses each year on a selection of films in post production from a specific country in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or Southeastern Europe, and is supported by funds from the Swiss government’s foreign aid budget through the Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Department of Foreign Affairs. 

The inaugural edition of Carte Blanche showcased projects from Latin America: the sidebar focused on Colombia last year.

Among the titles chosen this time around is Mai Morire, the sophomore drama from writer-director Enrique Rivero. Rivero's first work, Parque Via, impressed critics in 2008, winning the FIPRESCI Prize at Locarno that year.  

Andrea Martinez, director of the Guillermo del Toro-produced drama Insignificant Things, is introducing her new bicycle road movie Ciclo. Also of note is the much-awaited return of director Aaron Fernandez with his latest drama Las Horas Muertas (The Empty Hours). His feature debut, Partes Usadas (Used Parts), screened in more than 30 festivals worldwide. 

Other Mexican works premiering are Eduardo Villanueva's Penumbra, Pablo Delgado's Las Lagrimas (The Tears), Daniel Castro's Tau and Jimena Montemayor's Tierra de Nod (Land of Nod).

The initiative increases the Mexican presence in Locarno, which also includes Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who will join U.K. actress Charlotte Rampling as recipients of the Locarno Film Festival’s Excellence Award. In addition to the Excellence Award, Garcia Bernal appears in Pablo Larrain’s historical drama about Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, No, which will screen in Locarno’s famous Piazza Grande venue.

STORY: Locarno to Honor Mexico's Gael Garcia Bernal with Excellence Award

The winner of the cash award will be selected by a special three-person jury, while meetings between the producers of the seven in-production films will take place within the Industry Days market event and other Locarno initiatives.

The 65th edition of the Locarno festival will take place August 1-11, while Industry Days runs August 4-6.