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Incoming Berlin Artistic Director to Bring Over His Locarno Team (EXCLUSIVE)

Carlo Chatrian, the incoming artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival, is bringing the core of his Locarno fest programming team with him when he takes up his new post in the German capital in June, Variety has learned.

Set to be part of Chatrian’s Berlinale team are the Locarno Film Festival’s outgoing head of programming, Marc Peranson, and two Locarno selection committee members, Lorenzo Esposito and Sergio Fant, a source close to the situation said. It is not clear whether another of Chatrian’s Locarno colleagues, programmer Aurelie Godet, will also join the team in Berlin.

Chatrian, an Italian film critic and curator who has served as artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival since 2013, declined to comment. The Berlin Film Festival press office also did not respond to a request for comment.

Chatrian takes up his new post June 1, after longtime Berlin chief Dieter Kosslick steps down. Chatrian will have responsibility for the curatorial side of the fest, while Mariette Rissenbeek will oversee business operations.

Peranson, a Canadian critic and the editor and publisher of Canada’s Cinema Scope magazine, is also a programmer at the Vancouver International Film Festival. He was brought on board in Locarno by Chatrian’s predecessor, Olivier Pere. Peranson is considered an ardent cinephile who is well-wired into the global independent film community. 

Esposito, who, like Chatrian, is Italian, is a former collaborator with the Venice, Turin and Rome festivals, and a producer on Italian pubcaster RAI’s late-night cult film-buff program “Fuori Orario.” He is currently a consultant for the Karlovy Vary fest and France’s Cinema du Reel, which is dedicated to documentaries. Esposito also writes for several publications, including Cinemascope. Besides being in charge of the Italian cinema selection at Locarno, Esposito’s areas of expertise covered cinema from Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Arab world. 

Fant, who is also Italian, has long been based in Germany. Prior to serving on the Locarno team, he worked as a consultant for the Horizons section at Venice. His primary area of expertise is experimental cinema, but at Locarno he also oversaw German and Latin American movie selections.

Chatrian will be under pressure to give Berlin’s competition new luster after some complaints that Kosslick, who has run the event for 18 years, let quantity outstrip quality. Bringing the core of his Locarno team to the Berlinale suggests that the soft-spoken Chatrian will continue to apply the same kind of auteur-driven criteria to his selection in Berlin as he did in Locarno, Europe’s preeminent indie cinema event.

In Locarno, Chatrian programmed an increasingly diverse mix of esoteric and more accessible titles, striving to maintain as high a level of quality as possible. He is also on good terms with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon.

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