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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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A look back at Locarno's 2009 edition

First reports show the 62nd Festival continues to be a major attraction, despite the global economic downturn
The 62nd Locarno International Film Festival drew to a close on Saturday 15 August with a surprise concert in the Piazza Grande given by Mongolian singer Urna, following the world premiere of the film The Two Horses of Genghis Khan by Byambasuren Davaa.


At the final awards ceremony a few hours earlier, the Golden Leopard went to filmmaker and writer Xiaolu GUO (UK/Germany/France) for She, A Chinese.

The closing ceremony also afforded an opportunity for departing Artistic Director Frédéric Maire to say thank you to all the actors, filmmakers and producers who brought to life the Festivals under his charge, as well as to the Festival audience and the staff who have been with him during his four years in the job. President Marco Solari then introduced Frenchman Olivier Père, who will be taking over as the Festival’s new Artistic Director from 1st September.

Turning to the first statistics to emerge from this year’s Festival, its 62nd year inevitably suffered from the credit crunch and subsequent economic downturn of recent months, but to a lesser extent than had been feared. Overall attendance at this year’s Festival fell by 12,7 %, with a total audience of 157,057, as against 180,008 in 2008. This trend was mirrored by a decrease in the total number of accreditations, down by 12% as compared to 2008: this year the Festival welcomed 2985 professional attendees (as compared to 3384 in 2008) and 955 journalists. The negative trend was happily bucked by the Piazza Grande, however, which attracted a total audience of 58,100, up by some 2,5% on the 2008 figure of 56,700.

One of the high points of the 62nd Festival was certainly the success of the Manga Impact project on Japanese animation, which featured some of the grand masters of the genre and peaked with a special Manga Night in the Piazza Grande, eagerly followed by fans into the wee small hours. Other highlights included: big names of world cinema in conversation with festival-goers at the Forum, from U.S. director William Friedkin (Leopard of Honor - Swisscom) to producer Martine Marignac (Raimondo Rezzonico Prize for Best Independent Producer), plus star Italian actor Toni Servillo (Excellence Award - Moët & Chandon); the theatrical and film performances of Pippo Delbono that left their many and varied marks throughout the event; the presence of some of the best-known international soccer referees for the world premiere of the documentary Les arbitres at La Sala; the Open Doors co-production workshops on new projects by a dozen filmmakers from the Chinese cultural ar ea; not forgetting the many directors, actors, producers and artists who came to present their films in person at all the Festival’s various venues and in the Piazza Grande.

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