The Locarno International Film Festival has announced that the next edition of its co-production lab, Open Doors, will focus on Central Asia.

The initiative aims to help the directors and producers selected to find co-production partners, particularly in Europe, for their projects. It is supported by the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The countries included in the focus will be Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan.

The festival has also appointed Martina Malacrida to oversee the section. The former journalist will take over as manager of Open Doors after a long-standing working relationship with Locarno.

Olivier Pere, Locarno’s artistic director, said: “The central Asian New Wave, which had its moment of glory in the 1990s, is already behind us. Today there is a new generation of very young film-makers, who have come up through short film-making or the contemporary visual arts, waiting for a renewal of itnerst in their countries in the hope that their projects might find European c-production, festival exposure and an audience.”

Applications for Open Doors can be submitted from January onwards through the Locarno website.