The Locarno Film Festival is going green — literally and figuratively — with a series of programs aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues.
For its 75th edition, which runs Aug. 3-13, Locarno will introduce a new award, the Pardo Verde WWF, presented in collaboration with environmental group the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), for the film in competition that best reflects an ecological issue and offers “audiences new and challenging interpretations that inspire change.” The award will be a bright green version of Locarno’s traditional golden leopard award stature.
Locarno will also launch a new Green Film Fund to provide financial support for films that tackle environmental issues. The fund will operate similarly to Locarno’s The Films After Tomorrow program, started in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, which turned Locarno into an actual financial backer of independent film projects. Locarno said it plans to use “thematic film funds” increasingly in the coming years to strengthen Locarno’s position “as a catalyst for change and rethink the future of the cinema.”
While the Green Film Fund is still a work in progress, Locarno said the total value of the project will be 6 figures, and that the fund expects to back up to three projects a year.
Locarno has been a climate-neutral event since 2010 and has committed itself to a series of sustainability goals set by the United Nations. Last year it began publishing an annual sustainability report, documenting progress towards its green goals.
“We are beginning a new chapter in the history of the Locarno Film Festival, an event which has always been alert to the urgent issues of the day,” Locarno managing director Raphaël Brunschwig said in a statement. “Sustainability is a core need on which contemporary society must concentrate its efforts. At this moment in time, we need to rethink our approach and find new tools to tackle the challenges of the future. A cultural event like Locarno can act to generate, foster and disseminate a new perspective by incentivizing films and filmmakers that respect the ecosystem and tell new stories capable of raising public awareness.”