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Locarno’s Open Doors South Asia Co-Production Lab Announces Winners

LOCARNO, Switzerland — The Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors co-production lab dedicated to works from South Asia has picked its winners out of 8 selected projects.

They are:

“Day After Tomorrow,” by Kamar Ahmad Simon, Bangladesh. Winner of a production grant worth 30,000 Swiss Francs ($30,400). And also of the ARTE International Open Doors Prize worth Euros 6,000 ($6,600).

This is the second installment of a “water-trilogy” that started with non-conventional docu “Are you listening!,” which won the Grand Prix at the Cinema du Réel fesival in Paris. The director travelled more than 200 kilometres by waterways to shoot it, while also making a metaphorical journey through the mainly Muslim population of Bangladesh, on the eve of an election.

“The Red Phallus,” by Tashi Gyeltshen, Bhutan. Winner of a production grant worth 20,000 Swiss Francs ($20,300).

This first feature is described as being about the paradox that sees people killing other people while talking about attaining enlightenment in the same breath. It is part of a trilogy, the first two instalments being shorts. The second instalment, “The Red Door,” screened in 2014 in Rotterdam.

Open Doors grants are funded by the Open Doors initiative in collaboration with the Municipality of Bellinzona and the Swiss fund for production support Visions Sud Est, also financed by the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

“Season of Dragonflies” (“Jhyalincha”), by Abinash Bikram Shah, Nepal   CNC  Prize worth Euros 8,000 ($8,800).

This first feature based on the filmmaker’s personal history will aim to provide a glimpse into the restlessness of Nepal, especially the struggle of women, caught between age-old traditions and modern day aspirations while also having to contend with poverty and disasters. The directors’ previous works include the short “I Am Happy,” which played at Busan.

Earlier this year Locarno announced that as part of their “research remit” to explore cinematographies that are relatively or totally unknown – but with great potential – they would be focussing over the next three years on eight countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Open Doors Screenings program continues until the end of the Locarno fest on August 13.

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