Pilot open to young European professionals in distribution, exhibition, sales and marketing.

The Locarno Film Festival’s Industry Office has joined forces with the Locarno Summer Academy to launch a pilot project titled Industry Academy (Aug 8-12).

The educational programme will include a group of nine young European professionals starting out in the areas of distribution, exhibition, sales and marketing, and they will meet with seasoned industry professionals.

Speaking recently to Screen, Locarno’s head of industry Nadia Dresti said the pilot aimed to fill a gap in the market. “If you want to be a director or producer, you can go to film school. But what do you do if you want to become a distributor, or a sales agent, or an exhibitor?”

Those selected come from six different countries and include:

  • Damien Le Délézir, Europa International (Belgium)
  • Vanessa Jarlot, O’Brother (Belgium)
  • Peter Ahlén, Trust Nordisk (Denmark)
  • Océane Portal, Under The Milky Way (France)
  • Espinar Gabriel Sanz, The Film Agency (Spain)
  • Meryl Moser, Cinerive SA (Switzerland)
  • Frédérick Herren, Cinepel SA (Switzerland)
  • Yves Blösche, Filmcoopi (Switzerland)
  • Oliver Charles, Peccadillo Pictures (UK).

Mentors and participants will talk about their respective professions and the challenges and changes they face, discuss case studies and explore together new approaches in terms of sales, exhibition, distribution (including new platforms) and marketing strategies.

Confirmed guests include Susan Wendt (TrustNordisk), Nicholas Kaiser (Memento Films International), Anne Delseth (Directors’ Fortnight), Lane Kneedler (AFI Fest), Michel de Schaetzen (O’Brother), Pierre-Alexandre Labelle (Under the Milky Way), Yves Moser (Cinerive SA) and Mary Nazari (Pioner Cinema).

The three-day intensive workshop will include tie-ins with Locarno’s Industry Days such as Step In, the Carte Blanche, its industry screenings, networking Happy Hours as well as with the Open Doors Coproduction Lab and the Filmmakers Academy.

“I sincerely hope this project will be inspiring to these junior professionals, make them realize the important role they play in the career of films and filmmakers and encourage them to join forces and become creative entrepreneurs because their professions have never been so fascinating, open to innovation and new opportunities than today,” said Sophie Bourdon, Locarno Industry Consultant.

Marion Klotz, festivals manager and acquisitions executive at Memento Films International, and since July of this year freelance consultant, will be the coordinator of the programme and the Tutor of the group.

“We hope the industry academy will be a mini-lab giving prominence to exchanges and small group discussions rather than an academical teaching session. We want to nurture our discussions about the future of distribution and sales by ideas, thoughts and experiences of both beginners and experts,” said Klotz.

The pilot project has been designed in cooperation with Europa Cinemas, Europa Distribution and Europa International.