Central and Eastern European film distribution is under the spotlight at Locarno this with year with the launch of industry event Step In. Devised by the festival industry office as a way to help increase exposure for talented Eastern European directors, the event brings 12 key exhibitors, distributors and festival heads from a dozen territories that are EU Media program members together with representatives of arthouse cinema backers Europa Distribution and Cicae to help find ways of increasing the reach of film from those territories.

Nadia Dresti, head of Locarno’s industry office, believes the festival’s leading role as an arthouse showcase can help films from the east find world sales agents and distribution.

“Personal contact is everything in this industry,” Dresti says. “At Locarno, we have all the major European distributors and exhibitors here.”

The three-day symposium, which runs Aug. 4-6, combines workshops and roundtable discussions with individual meetings. Sales agents and distributors will be able to access the films from the participating countries in Locarno’s digital film library — those countries being Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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