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Locarno opens door to Central Asia

Co-production mart will select 10 projects

The 63rd Locarno Film Festival will focus on cinema from Central Asia in its Open Doors co-production lab.

The Swiss fest dedicated to indie pics will select 10 projects from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to invite to Open Doors, which helps participants develop pics and find co-production partners.

A showcase of contempo Central Asian cinema will unspool concurrently during the sidebar at Locarno, which runs Aug. 4-14., featuring work by directors who took part in previous Open Doors and others, as well as a confab on the state of production in the region.

The cinematic new wave that emerged in Central Asia during the 1990s is already a thing of the past,” new Locarno artistic director Olivier Pere said. “Today, there are young filmmakers who have cut their teeth by shooting shorts or who come from the contemporary visual arts world and who are waiting for the region to spark a renewed interest so that their projects can be made as European co-productions.”

Pere, a former Cannes Directors’ Fortnight topper who succeeded Frederic Maire at Locarno’s helm, has appointed longtime Locarno collaborator Martina Malacrida as the Open Doors project manager, replacing Vincenzo Bugno.

In the past, Locarno has been instrumental in launching the international careers of hot Central Asian filmmakers such as Tajik helmer Djamshed Usmonov (“Angel on the Right,” “To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die”).

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