The Locarno Film Festival is adding a new competitive section dedicated to shorts by established filmmakers, in one of the first moves made by new artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro.

Nazzaro, a former Venice Critics’ Week chief who was appointed to head Locarno in November, is starting to put his stamp on the prominent Swiss event dedicated to indie cinema by launching the new section, which “will open a significant window of opportunity for high-profile directors experimenting in new and innovative forms and formats.” 

The idea behind the new Locarno section, called Corti d’Autore (which translates as auteur shorts) is “to be a place where non-feature-length films by established directors will find space and visibility,” Nazzaro said.

“A new, competitive section dedicated to the non-standard gazes of filmmaking, with no genre excluded or prioritized, staying true to Locarno’s vocational mission to discover new voices pitched towards the future,” he added.

It’s clear that due to the pandemic, shorter format films represent a more viable option for many directors just as these works are increasingly able to find digital distribution outlets that make them more economically sound from a production standpoint.

While shorts have long been a significant component of the venerable fest dedicated to indie fare, located in the Italian-speaking portion of Switzerland, Locarno’s existing shorts section, the Pards of Tomorrow, was limited to works by emerging talent.

The new Corti d’Autore section, with its separate prizes, “will be a stimulus towards redefining our perceptions about what short films are, about who makes them and why,” noted Locarno shorts section chief Eddie Bertozzi, who will be in charge of the selection along with programmers Anne Gaschütz, Enrico Vannucci and Valeria Wagner.

The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival is currently on track to take place Aug. 4-14 as a physical event, barring coronavirus complications.