ROME – The Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors Co-Production Lab, dedicated to promoting cinema in areas where filmmaking is especially tough, has unveiled the projects, directors, and producers from South Asia who will make the trek to Switzerland for networking and training opportunities.
This is the second year of Locarno’s three-year initiative focused on eight South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Open Doors program is part of the festival’s “research remit” to explore what movies are being made in countries that are relatively or totally unknown on the festival circuit, but that show great potential. The fest is dedicated to indie and cutting-edge international filmmaking.
The event’s co-production platform, called Open Doors Hub, gives eight promising projects from the region and their directors international exposure and financing and co-production opportunities. Separately, eight key producers/directors, selected this year from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, have been invited to the Open Doors Lab, a training program devised to give them more international expertise.
A third component, Open Doors Screenings, will give attendees a chance to see fresh pics from Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The titles are still being decided.
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Open Doors is being run by veteran film industry expert and former sales agent Sophie Bourdon.
The eight projects selected for the Open Doors Hub are:
“Across the Rainbow Bridge” (Indreni Pari), by Niranjan Raj Bhetwal, Nepal/Sri Lanka
“Badeszenen,” by Dawood Hilmandi, Afghanistan
“Barzakh: Between Heaven and Hell,” by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, Pakistan
“Dhanu,” by Suranga Katugampala, Sri Lanka/Italy
“Discount Workers,” by Ammar Aziz and Christopher Patz, Pakistan/Germany
“Made in Bangladesh,” by Rubaiyat Hussain, Bangladesh/France
“One Summer Day” (Nway Ta Nae), by Wera Aung, Myanmar
“The Whole-Timers,” by Bibhusan Basnet and Pooja Gurung, Nepal/France
These eight projects will vie for the Open Doors prize, worth $50,000, mostly financed by the Swiss production fund Visions Sud Est.
The producers/directors who will participate in the Open Doors Lab are:
– Jawed Taiman, Tora Bora Media, Afghanistan
– Mohammad Mehdi Zafari, ADFO Afghanistan Documentary Film Organization Afghanistan
– Abdul Tamim Zarabi, Rumi Films Productions, Afghanistan
– Mehnaz Alavi Diwan, Studio Rail Films, Pakistan
– Jami Mahmood, Azad lms, Pakistan
– Mohamed Adamaly, Monad Art, Sri Lanka
– Rasitha Jinasena, Sky Entertainers, Sri Lanka
– Anura Silva, Ashram Films, Sri Lanka
Open Doors runs Aug. 2-8. The 70th edition of the Locarno fest runs Aug. 2-12.