Pere sets 'more daring' course for the fest

The Locarno Film Festival has announced the first two main competition titles: “L.A. Zombie,” by Canadian helmer-provocateur Bruce LaBruce, and “Pietro,” from Italo arthouse darling Daniele Gaglianone.

“L.A. Zombie” stars French porn star Francois Sagat as a schizophrenic who thinks he’s a zombie, trying to bring the dead back to life by engaging in homosexual sex. Pic will bow internationally at the Swiss fest dedicated to indie pics.

While LaBruce, whose sexually explicit “Otto; or, Up With Dead People”played Sundance and Berlin in 2008, is known on the fest circuit, Locarno’s selection of “L.A. Zombie” is indicative of the more daring course that new artistic topper Olivier Pere wants the fest to take. Pere is a former Cannes Directors’ Fortnight chief.

The world preem of Gaglianone’s “Pietro” marks the Italo helmer’s return to Locarno after his lauded docu “There Will Not Be War” unspooled at the fest in 2008.

As previously announced, Singaporean helmer Eric Khoo will head the jury that will pick the winner of the Golden Leopard, worth 90,000 Swiss francs ($81,000).

As for sidebars, Locarno will feature an Ernst Lubitsch retro, introduced by American film scholar Joseph McBride, and a tribute to Italo multihyphenate Corso Salani, a former Locarno aficionado who died June 16 at age 48.

The fest’s full lineup will be announced July 14. The 63rd edition will run Aug. 4-14.

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