Locarno's Open Doors to Focus on South Caucasus in 2013

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."

The program focused on projects from French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa in its 2012 edition.

The Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors film lab initiative will focus on the Southern Caucasus with its 2013 edition, organizers announced Tuesday.

The well-regarded Open Doors program helps promote film in the selected region by nominating a short-list of directors and producers, putting them in contact with potential partners in order to facilitate financing. The initiative also awards three cash prizes of up to 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,000) for the projects judged top among those on the short list.

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Last year, Open Doors focused on French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa last year after three consecutive years in Asia: India in 2011, Central Asia before that, and greater China in 2009. The 2013 focus will include films from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Applications are now open on the Open Doors web site.

Locarno officials said they are collaborating for the next edition with Joël Chapron, an expert in Russian, central Asian, and Eastern European cinema.

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The 66th edition of the Locarno festival, the first under new artistic director Carlo Chatrian, will take place August 7-17, 2013.