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Report on the 61st édition: success despite some rain at the end

The closing ceremony for the 61st edition of the Locarno International Film Festival took place on Saturday August 16 on the Piazza Grande. The Golden Leopard was awarded to Parque via by Enrique Rivero (Mexico). This first feature is also the first Mexican film to win the Locarno Golden Leopard ever.

Initial statistics on the 61st edition confirm the Festival's vitality and appeal to the public, the professionals and the press. The figures are inevitably affected however by the changeable weather over the last few days.

The Festival 2008 is marked by strong audience figures for the cinemas (123,308 admissions, compared to 117,651 in 2007, i.e. a 4,8% increase). This result compensate the drop in the Piazza Grande attendances, largely due to the problematic weather conditions, rain during six evening screenings (56,700 admissions, 2007 : 68,100). This explains the 3% drop in the overall attendances (180,008 admissions, compared to 185,751 in 2007). Festival delegates number 3,384 professionals (2007: 3,193) and 1,083 journalists. Finally, a total of 372 films, including shorts, mid-length films and features were screened.

In terms of the film market, 2008 has already proved to be a record-breaking year. Of the 18 films in the International Competition, only 4 already had an international distributor before the Festival started. 5 films were picked up by a World Sales in Locarno during the Festival: the Italian film Mar nero by Federico Bondi (Intramovies), the Swiss film Un autre homme by Lionel Baier (Wide Management), the Russian film Yuri's Day by Kirill Serebrennikov (m-appeal), the Korean film Daytime Drinking by NOH Young-seok (Finecut), and the Turkish film Sonbahar / Autumn by Özcan Alper (Medialuna). Several other contracts are under negotiation.

Among the highlights of the 61st edition are the complete Nanni Moretti retrospective, including his ‘carte blanche' programmes and the presentation of Filmquiz, a challenge to the most ardent cinéphiles in the form of a short film made especially for Locarno; the award of the Honorary Leopard to Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai; the Raimondo Rezzonico Prize for Best Independent Producer to American Christine Vachon; the attendance of celebrated writers Chuck Palahniuk, Alessandro Baricco and Michel Houellebecq, the two latter having chosen Locarno for the world première of their directorial debuts. And despite the rain, the Piazza Grande has once again offered the audience some unforgettable moments. Following the screening of Berlin Calling, at 1.30am famous German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner transformed the Piazza into a massive dance-floor with a live electro mix, while French actor Fabrice Luchini introduced the world première of La fille de Monaco with all his usual brio.

Other prestigious guests at the 61st edition included Gabriele Salvatores, Anne Fontaine, Louise Bourgoin, Noah Taylor, Clark Gregg, Solveig Anspach, Joy Doyle, Karim Dridi, Julien Temple, Andreas Prochaska, Denis Rabaglia, Philip Stölzl, Ulrich Tukur, Simon Schwarz, Florian Lukas, Benno Fürmann, Garth Jennings, Sophia Myles, Howard Mc Cain, Denis Côté, Kelly O'Neill, Ksenia Rappoport-Lyuba, Kirill Serebrennikov, Mijke de Jong, Julia Jentsch, Händl Klaus, Emmanuel Finkiel, Ben Hopkins, Natacha Koutchoumov, Lionel Baier, Marina Hands, Ilaria Occhini, Josué Méndez, Fernand Melgar, Laila Pakalnina, Jacqueline Veuve, Nelo Risi, Dominique de Rivaz, Gianfranco Pannone, Daniele Gaglianone, Diego Lerman, Pascal Rambert, Aoyama Shinji, Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Silvio Soldini, Jerzy Skolimovski, Nacer Khemir, Antoine d'Agata, Danielle Arbid, Vincent Dieutre, Masbedo, Josef Dabernig, Masahiro Kobayashi, Paolo Sorrentino, Rachida Brakni, Dani Levy, Bertha Navarro, Goran Pasakljevic, Liron Levo, Bertrand Bonello, Benedek Fliegauf, Corso Salani, Cao Guimaraes, Franz Treichler, Albertina Carri, Cristi Puiu, Marianne Slot, Eran Kolirin, amongst many other.

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