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Locarno, Panama Festival Team for New Academy Program

Switzerland’s Locarno Festival has announced that the Intl. Film Festival of Panama will become its fourth and final festival partner in Latin America.

“The impact the Locarno Industry Academy will have on professionals of the region is ineffable,” said Panama Festival director Pituka Ortega Heilbron. “Attention is being paid to an industry and an audience that is ready for its own cinema. The many festivals and alternative cinemas that are opening in the region attest to this.”

International projects carried out by the Academy will be supervised by Marion Klotz, longtime Locarno Academy collaborator, project manager and member of the selection committee for its co-production lab, Open Doors.

Colombian-Mexican distribution, production and consulting company Interior XIII founder-director Sandra Gómez will moderate, and provide more local knowledge, as she has at previous editions of academies held in Latin America.

The Academy launched in 2010, intent on developing emerging industry talents in distribution, exhibition and production. In 2014, Morelia was the first Latin American Festival to partner with the Academy, followed by Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Chile’s Valparaíso – along with Australab during DocsBarcelona.

Each Academy will be open to Latin American, U.S. and E.U. participants, but in general Panama will cover Central America and the Caribbean Islands, Morelia the north, Valparaiso the South and Sao Paulo the Portuguese-speaking areas.

The Academy also has footholds in the U.S., in the form of a partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York; in Europe at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival; and in the Middle East with Metropolis Cinema and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) in Beirut.

“The alumni have access to a privileged place that allows them to stay connected and exchange ideas and contacts,” said head of Locarno Pro Nadia Dresti.

She added: “We are creating an international network of future key players around the world, and developing new business models.”

The inaugural edition of the Panama–Locarno Industry Academy will take place during IFF Panama from April 7 to April 10, and will play host to eight participants from the participating territories.

The application process opens officially on Feb 8, and runs through March 1. Qualified and interested participants can submit their application at www.iffpanama.org/en/locarno.

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