The Locarno film festival will concentrate on Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2012 edition of its Open Doors co-production lab.

Applications are now open on for projects from the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, and Togo.

Alex Moussa Sawadogo [pictured], an expert on African cinema and director of the Afrikamera festival in Berlin, will participate in this year’s edition.

12 selected applicants will be announced in May 2012 and the projects will be presented at Open Doors (Aug 4-7). There are cash prizes for winners during the lab.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Agency for Development and Cooperation supports Open Doors, which each year focuses on a different region where independent filmmaking is vulnerable. The 2011 focus was India.

The 65th Locarno film festival runs Aug 1-11.