Today we spoke to Mark Peranson, Head of Programming at the 


DEADLINE  • 3 June 2013


Mark Peranson, Head of Programming, Locarno

One thing we are trying to do the last 4 or 5 years is build up the industry component of the festival. And now, as of last year, there are industry screenings for the all the films in competition and a number of special conferences for the industry. So, we are sort of trying to involve it more heavily from an industry side, especially for European distributors and sales companies.

When people think about Locarno they think about the Piazza Grande which, as you know, is the outdoor screening and that is pretty incomparable with the international film festival circuit. There are places like Lausanne and some other festivals have outdoor screenings but not on this grand scale. The whole festival itself, I mean the atmosphere of the festival, is pretty different from all other A level film festivals because of this very concentrated place.

The good thing about Locarno as far as I am concerned is that we are pretty much open to any kind of filmmaking: experimental filmmaking, documentary filmmaking, hybrid films and fiction films. I mean, for me, the only criteria is that I am not bored by something and I have a very low standard for boredom. 

When we select a film, we select it not because we like it but because we want to help have it played elsewhere in the world. We also are geared towards young filmmakers with the focus in the present competition for first and second films. In my experience, a lot of filmmakers who come to Locarno, who haven‘t been to any other international film festival, end up having a great experience and enjoying themselves but also develop an understanding of how the film circuit works. Opportunities to meet people at Locarno are very easy: programmers and filmmakers. There is also no stress. At Locarno, you just walk into the movies. You have to wait in line for a while but, essentially everyone gets in. No hierarchy. You got a pass – you got a pass.

The last few years we have had films which have gone onto play at many great festivals, be it Toronto, New York, Buenos Aires; it is nice to be part of the starting of a film, helping it be exposed to the world and then following it up as it keeps on going. 

Mark Peranson, Head of Programming, Festival del film Locarno to FilmFestivalLife, 28 May 2013 

7-17 August 2013, Locarno, Switzerland

Festival del film Locarno on FilmFestivalLife


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Claire French

Claire French is the Marketing and Communications Director at FFL. Her editorial training is grounded in Arts Management, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Communications and Media, Notre Dame University, Fremantle. Her film experience includes her position as Festival Director of Perth's Bamboo Mainstage Amphitheater. Reach her at