How to get your film to play at the Locarno Film Festival

The new artistic director’s tastes are a bit too obvious when it comes to selecting the films for the festival. So if you’re a young indie filmmaker and you’re thinking to enter the Locarno Film Festival here are a couple tips to make sure your film will be picked up. If you follow all of these I really don’t see how they can turn you down.


Here’s a list of characteristics your film should present if you want it to play in Locarno.

1) Make a film about film
Almost every film I’ve seen at the festival featured references to other films. Some films were about film and filmmaking, commenting on it and the industry or the filmmaking process. So if you want to be sure your film is selected just throw in some references to other films.

2) Do a genre bender
Most films I’ve seen were mixing more than one genre. None of them were straight up dramas, they always borrowed elements from one or more genres. So if you want to be sure your film makes it to Locarno don’t hold back: Throw in every genre you can think of. The more the merrier.

3) Differentiate yourself aesthetically
Nothing is more boring than a standard looking film. Do something crazy visually. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad or even appropriate to the story you’re telling: Just be different. Be bold, they’ll love it.

4) Remember your social commentary
Your film has to have something to say about society, art or life otherwise it’s worth nothing. I joke of course, but they don’t. They want a film that is relevant. Political subject matters are always appreciated, but don’t go with anything as obvious as the holocaust: That stuff is so passé.

5) Go dark
If you can create a dark and depressing mood you’ll win their hearts (maybe even the golden leopard). They love it. It makes your film look deep, even if it isn’t. If you’re not good with mood, try a dark subject matter or a dark color palette, but also remember point 3. Actually, screw it! If you want to respect only one of these points make sure it’s this one. The other ones are fine, but if your film is light, hopeful and god forbid just entertaining you have no fucking chance in hell to get into the festival.

Good luck & please do consider other festivals as well (just in case).

One comment

  1. Pingback: 66th Locarno Film Festival: Recapitulation | black is white

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