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Locarno StepIn Industry Think Tank to Tackle State of Film Production, Theatrical, Festivals and Markets

Locarno Pro StepIn
Variety Streaming Room

The Locarno Film Festival’s unique StepIn industry think tank, which is going online this year due to the pandemic, will delve into the future of the theatrical experience, production, film festivals and markets.

A high-caliber roster of industry executives has been recruited for the sessions, which aim to provide food for thought and a sharp picture of the post-pandemic landscape.

The three sessions — moderated by Variety journalists and hosted by the Variety Streaming Room platform — will stream Aug. 5, 6 and 7.

Speakers include Brazilian producer Rodrigo Teixeira (“Call Me By Your Name,”); U.S. writer, director and actor Kasi Lemmons (“Harriet”); Elissa Federoff, president of distribution at U.S. outfit Neon; Daniel Battsek, director of the U.K.’s publicly owned Film4; Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera; Marche du Cannes executive director Jérôme Paillard; Sundance Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson, and many more.

“It’s common knowledge that the current [coronavirus] situation — though extraordinary — has been a big accelerator of a series of changes that were already in motion,” StepIn project director Marcello Paolillo told Variety. “Given what we are going through, we think this type of dialogue and conversation is more important than ever.”

To involve regular StepIn participants — customarily some 50 mostly European key indie players — Paolillo has sent out a mini-survey with specific questions about what they perceive as the most pressing issues. For example, one senior pan-European industry executive noted in the survey that co-productions in general are suffering more than national films due to the limited travel options following the re-opening of intra-European boundaries.

Concurrently, the superpower of streaming platforms, boosted by their quantum leap in subs during lockdown, is likely to be an issue discussed across all three sessions.

Valentina Merli, the recently appointed new chief of the Swiss fest’s Locarno Pro industry program, underlined that the expanded collaboration with Variety, which involves hosting the sessions on the Variety Streaming Room platform this year, will give the initiative a potentially greater overseas resonance, though the initiative already has longstanding ties with the U.S. indie community.

The sessions are free to attend but registration is required.