Locarno Film Fest unveils new 'Step In' initiative for Eastern and Central Europe

The so-called "exchange platform" aims to help reinvigorate the cinema industry in 12 former communist countries.

ROME -- The Industry Office from the Locarno Film Festival on Tuesday announced a new exchange initiative aimed at improving access to distribution and sales possibilities for “auteur cinema.”

The initiative, called Step In, will focus on Eastern and Central Europe in this year’s inaugural edition, with industry figures from 12 countries expected to participate: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Organizers call Step In an “exchange platform” that will include a dozen major exhibitors and distributors representing the 12 countries in the program, who will be invited to the Industry Days market event at the lakeside Swiss festival. The goal is for these figures to debate and discuss various approaches to marketing and distribution. The eventual aim, organizers say, is to help new forms of commercial collaboration to evolve to “reinvigorate” the cinema industry in the countries involved.

As part of the initiative, Locarno’s Industry Office will also focus on films from Eastern and Central Europe in its digital library.

Step In and the Locarno Industry Office will take place Aug. 4-6, while the 65th edition of the Locarno festival will run Aug. 1-11.