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Locarno fest opens door to Mideast

Fest will highlight less developed countries

The upcoming Locarno Intl. Film Festival will focus on cinema from the Middle East in its Open Doors co-production mart, which has selected 13 projects coming from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.

Open Doors, which highlights works from less cinematically developed countries each year, is inviting Middle Eastern helmers and producers to make pitches at its workshop to be held Aug. 5-8 during the Swiss lakeside fest. Locarno’s 60th edition runs Aug. 1-11.

Open Doors project manager Vincenzo Bugno said he was struck by the thematic diversity of the 120 projects submitted, which ranged from the psychological scars of war and political tensions to tales dealing with love and sexuality.

The Swiss government will provide two projects grants of $40,000 each, while France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie will support a first feature with $13,000 in development coin.

A selection of features from the region will unspool during the Locarno co-prod mart, some by the Middle Eastern filmmakers who will be on hand trying to get their new projects off the ground.

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