Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival, one of the key events on the European summer fest circuit, has named Italian film critic Giona A. Nazzaro as its new artistic director.
Nazzaro joins from Venice Critics’ Week, where he has served as General Delegate since 2016; he will take up his new role on January 1, 2021 but will work with interim director Nadia Dresti until then. He is a member of the selection committees for Rotterdam and Visions du Réel Festival in Nyon and has worked as a moderator at Locarno. During his career, he has also collaborated with Italy’s Turin Film Festival, the Rome Film Fest and the Festival dei Popoli in Florence.
Nazzaro replaces Lili Hinstin, who stepped down in September after less than two years in a row in something of a shock move. At the time, the fest cited “diverging strategic views” for the split. Dresti, who had spent 30 years with the Swiss fest and was formerly its deputy artistic director, was brought back from her new role at Ticino Film Commission to steady the ship after Hinstin’s departure.
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Like almost the entirety of the international fest calendar, Locarno had to cancel the majority of its 2020 edition due to pandemic disruption, running some screenings for local audiences and an industry program online. Nazzaro will be tasked with re-staging the fest in what will hopefully be a less virus-impacted year; the event is scheduled to run its 74th edition August 4 – August 14 in 2021.
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“In Giona A. Nazzaro we have an ideal match for the artistic profile of the Locarno Film Festival,” said Locarno President Marco Solari. “Expert and knowledgeable, already perfectly familiar with Locarno, equipped with the planning skills for our Festival’s indispensable future innovations in the digital environment, a person who has an international mindset but also strong ties to Ticino and Switzerland.”
“It is an honor to direct the Locarno Film Festival, an institution which has always prioritized quality, auteur filmmaking and which today more than ever is a vital hotbed of ideas, looking creatively to the future of the moving image,” added Nazzaro. “I will be setting straight to work in the hope of being able to re-open the Piazza Grande, the beating heart of the Festival and an iconic symbol of the resilience of cinema.”
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