Open Doors

Source: (c) Locarno Film Festival, Ti-Press

The Open Doors delegation 2023

Rotterdam Tiger Award winning filmmaker Paz Encina as well as up-and-coming directors from Latin America and the Caribbean are among those set to present projects at this year’s edition of the Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors programme.

The Open Doors initiative, Locarno’s co-production platform and talent development programme, is entering the final year of a three-year cycle focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. It takes places online in July and onsite from August 8-13 as part of the Locarno Film Festival.

Scroll down for full list of projects and participants

Open Doors will present eight projects in its Projects Hub co-production initiative, and a further eight participants will join its producer training programme, Producers Lab.

Paraguayan director Paz Encina attends the Projects Hub with The Unique Time, which tells the story of an elderly couple living in exile awating news of their son who disappeared during Paraguay’s military dictatorship. Encina’s Eami won the Tiger Award in 2022, and while her 2006 film Paraguayan Hammock won the Cannes Un Certain Regard FIPRESCI Prize.

Other projects selected for the Hub include Venezuelan vampire story Caribbean Fever by Diego Andres Murillo; Ecuadorian queer science fiction film UFOs in the Tropic by first-time director Roberth Mendoza; and Peruvian feature The Return Of The Last Mochica Warrior by Fernando Luis Mendoza Salazar which blends video games with film.

Meanwhile, The Producers Lab has eight participants from eight different countries. They include Wendy Desert from Haiti, who is one of the founding members of the all-female collective L’autre Regard Films Productions, supporting emerging Haitian talents across the film industry; Bolivian producer Camila Molina, who was one of the producers of Diego Mondaca’s IFFR entry Chaco (2020); and Romola Lucas, the first ever producer from Guyana to attend the Lab. Open Doors is also welcoming junior producer Andrea Fatecha Bernal as an observer in this year’s Producers Lab, whose participation is possible thanks to the collaboration with the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) in Cuba.

Open Doors third talent development programme, the Directors Club – aimed at directors whose films are selected for the Open Doors Screenings – will announce its participants together with the official selection of the Locarno Film Festival on July 10.

Zsuzsi Bánkuti, head of Open Doors, said: “We are excited to see a significant number of first-time filmmakers whose innovative visions and bold experimentation with form promise to push the boundaries of storytelling. The diversity in perspectives among these projects and filmmakers is truly remarkable, offering fresh, unique viewpoints that challenge traditional narratives.”

On August 13, a jury panel will select winning projects and grant financial and in-kind awards. New this year is the Tabakalera-San Sebastian Film Festival Residency Award. The winner of the award will attend a residency in at the International Culture Center Tabakalera and take part in the industry activities of the San Sebastian Film Festival in September.

Further awards include the Open Doors Grant, sponsored by visions sud est and the City of Bellinzona, of CHF 50,000; the CNC Development Prize worth of €8,000; and the Arte Kino International Prize of €6,000. Additional in-kind prizes are offered by the Sørfond Film Fund, the BrLab, World Cinema Fund, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), IFFR Pro, Moulin d’Andé - CECI, and the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur.

Projects Hub Selection

Her Lightness (Cuba)
Dir: Rosa María Rodriguez
Prod: Armando Capó Ramos

Farewell To Lola (Dom Rep)
Dir: Ivan de Lara
Prod: José Maria Pimental

UFOs In The Tropic (Ecu)
Dir: Roberth Mendoza
Prod: Isabel Carrasco

Salvation (El Salvador)
Dir: Ernesto Bautista
Prod: Melissa Guevara

The Periphery (Jamaica)
Dir: Rebecca Williams
Prod: Rebecca Williams, Robert Maylor

Unique Time (Paraguay)
Dir: Paz Encina
Prod: Gabriela Sabaté

Return Of The Last Mochica Warrior (Peru)
Dir: Fernando Luis Mendoza Salazar
Prod: Silvia Eisleen Arellano Rojas

Caribbean Fever (Venezuela)
Dir: Diego Andres Murillo
Prod: Richard Nieto

Producers’ Lab 

Camila Molina (Bolivia)

Patricia Velásquez (Costa Rica)

Yamila Marrero (Cuba)

Romola Lucas (Guyana)

Wendy Desert (Haiti)

Luis Flores Alvarenga (Honduras)

Morena Guadalupe Espinoza (Nicaragua)

Nicolas Carrasco (Peru)

Andrea Fatecha Bernal (Paraguay) - observer