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The Locarno Film Festival is switching to gender-neutral categories starting from next year’s 2023 edition.

The prominent Swiss fest dedicated to global indie cinema is following in the footsteps of the Berlin Film Festival, which in 2021 awarded its first gender neutral acting prize.

Unlike Berlin, however, Locarno will hand out two gender-neutral prizes for best performance in both the fest’s main competition and its Cineasti del Presente competition for first and second works.

When Berlin did away with awards for the best actor and actress it subbed them with single gender neutral prizes for best leading performance and best supporting performance.

“As one of the first world festivals to bring in the change, Locarno is already at work on preparing next year’s 76th edition as an even more open and inclusive event, capable of fully representing its universe of talents,” the fest said in a statement.

The fest prides itself on being “a place for encounter and exchange, where the value of diversity and minority voices is recognized as one of its strongest assets,” the statement added.

Said Giona A. Nazzaro, who is Locarno’s artistic director: “We believe that the choice we have made will further enhance our efforts to showcase and reward talent and creativity, transcending individual categories that are now obsolete. The world is moving forward on a path that is most definitely non-binary.”

Added Locarno fest president Marco Solari: “As President I welcome this proposal from the Artistic Director and his team, which is perfectly in tune with the changing sensibilities that are necessary today.”

The 76th edition of Locarno will run Aug. 2-12 2023.