Locarno focus shifts to central Asia

Co-production lab dubbed 'Open Doors 2010'

LONDON -- Organizers of the Locarno International Film Festival have developed a taste for Asia, announcing that next year's co-production event will focus on central Asian territories Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan.

It follows on the heels of this year's co-production shindig, which featured projects from Greater China.

The 63rd Locarno International Film Festival is set to run Aug. 4-14.

The festival's co-production lab, dubbed "Open Doors 2010" is organized with support from the Swiss Foreign Ministry's Agency for Development and Cooperation and aims to assist the directors and producers of selected projects find co-production partners, particularly in Europe.

Festival director Olivier Pere said: "In the past, the Locarno festival has played an essential role in discovering several major auteurs from central Asia, such as Aktan Abdykalykov, Darezhan Omirbayev, Djamshed Usmonov; the forthcoming session of Open Doors will contribute to discoveries that are just as significant."

A dozen candidates will be selected with the sidebar throwing open its doors to applicants early in the New Year.

The festival has pledged a sidebar of screenings of earlier work from directors invited and a round table on central Asian cinema united producers and filmmakers from the region.