Years running: 75 (since 1946)


International Film Festival.


The Film Festival Locarno is an international film festival held annually in August in the city of Locarno, Switzerland since 1946. After Cannes and Venice and together with Karlovy Vary, Locarno is the Film Festival with the longest history. The main feature of the festival is the open-air screening space in the astonishing Piazza Grande, with room for over 8,000 spectators, and with one of the largest open air screens in the world (26x14 metres). 

The top prize of the Festival is the Golden Leopard awarded to the best film in the international competition. Other awards include the Leopard of Honour for outstanding career achievements, and the Prix du Public UBS, the public choice award. The Locarno Film Festival is well known worldwide to be a festival of discovery. Throughout its history the festival has discovered new trends and launched the career of numerous directors and actors. Although the festival aims at the films, rather than at stars and glamour, several well-known personalities of the international film industry have been to the Locarno International Film Festival in recent years.


  • The Piazza Grande section offers as world, international, European premieres works intended for a mainstream audience but made by genuine auteur filmmakers, with original genre films and the best of recently made documentaries.
  • The Concorso internazionale (International Competition) presents as world or international premieres a selection of fiction feature films, documentaries, or animated films over 60 minutes in length.
  • The Concorso Cineasti del presente (Filmmakers of the Present Competition) is reserved for first and second fulllength features made for the cinema over 60 minutes in length.
  • A competitive section entitled Pardi di domani (Leopards of Tomorrow) is reserved for short and medium-length films not more than 40 minutes in length by young filmmakers who have not yet made feature-length films: student and graduation films, and the first cinematic ventures from new talents.
  • The Fuori concorso selection offers recent work – feature films and shorts, film essays and documentaries – by well-established filmmakers, mostly world or international premieres.
  • Signs of Life offers a selection of works – out of competition – by well-established filmmakers, exploring new narrative forms and innovative film language.
  • Histoire(s) du cinéma is the sidebar dedicated to the history of cinema. It offers works from filmmakers and artists to whom the Festival dedicates special tributes. This section also presents newly restored prints of rare and important works in film history, documentaries about filmmakers and actors.
  • A retrospective section – a historical or thematic program, or the complete works of a major filmmaker – designed to make a contribution to the history of cinema or to enable the audience to (re)discover the body of work of an important auteur. Tributes may also be made to contemporary auteurs in the presence of the filmmakers themselves;
  • A section entitled Open Doors, organized with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Swiss Foreign Ministry, which aims to highlight film projects from countries whose cinema is still developing, and to enable them to find production partners.

Within the framework of the Festival two sections are independently organized:

  • The Semaine de la critique (Critics’ Week), reserved for documentaries, is organized independently by the Swiss Film Journalists Association during the Festival;
  • The Appellations Suisse section presents a selection of Swiss films chosen from titles which have already been shown in theaters or at other international festivals. This section is organized by SWISS FILMS, the promotion agency for Swiss filmmaking.


Concorso internazionale (international competition) Awards:

  • The Pardo d’oro (Golden Leopard), Grand Prize of the City of Locarno (CHF 75,000 to be shared equally between the director and the producer) to the best film; 
  • Special Jury Prize of the Cities of Ascona and Losone (CHF 30,000 to be shared equally between the director and the producer);
  • Leopard for Best Direction of the City and Region of Locarno (CHF 20,000 to the director) for the best directed film; 
  • Leopard for the Best Actress;
  • Leopard for the best Actor.

The Jury may also award - a maximum of two special mentions, the nature of which will be clearly defined by the Jury. 

The three first prizes may not be awarded ex aequo. 

Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the present) Awards:

  • Pardo d'oro Cineasti del presente – Premio Nescens (CHF 35,000 to be shared equally between the director and the producer) to the best film; 
  • the Premio miglior regista emergente – Città e regione di Locarno (CHF 20,000 to the director) to the best new director;
  • the Premio speciale della giuria Ciné+ Cineasti del presente (CHF 25,000 for broadcast rights, paid to the French distributor). 

These prizes may not be awarded ex aequo. 

Leopard for the Best First Feature to a first feature screened in the International Competition, the Filmmakers of the Present Competition, the Fuori Competition, Signs of Life or in the Piazza Grande section. First feature: first fiction, documentary, or animated film over 60 minutes in length. CHF 30,000 to be shared equally between the director and the producer.
This prize may not be awarded ex aequo.

Pardi di domani (Leopards of tomorrow) Awards:

  • Pardino d’oro for the best Swiss short fi lm – Premio Swiss Life (10,000 CHF);
  • Pardino d’oro for the best international short film – Premio SRG SSR (10,000 CHF);
  • Pardino d’argento Swiss Life for the National competition Pardi di domani (5,000 CHF);
  • Pardino d’argento SRG SSR for the International competition Pardi di domani (5,000 CHF);
  • Locarno short fi lm nominee for the European Film Awards – Premio Pianifica (2,000 CHF);
  • Premio Action Light for the best Swiss Newcomer;
  • Premio Film und Video Untertitelung.

These prizes may not be awarded ex-aequo and are conferred on the directors of the winning films.


  • Production of selected films must have been completed within the 12 (twelve) months preceding their Festival screening;
  • Films selected in competition must not have been previously released outside their country of origin nor have been shown in any international film festival prior to their official presentation at the Festival del film Locarno. Films available on the Internet or broadcasted on television are not eligible. All Swiss productions and co- productions must be world premieres. 
  • Works that are solely promotional, educational or scientific in character are not eligible for selection in the Festival.

All prints will be insured, from the moment of their arrival in Switzerland to the moment of their return shipment, against any loss or damage that may occur.

Screening Media Type: 35mm, DCP, Digital Betacam or Betacam SP PAL. 

All selected works must be screened in their original language with English subtitles on the print. English-language lms must be subtitled in French on the print.  

Premiere Requirements

World premiere required.

Jury and Organizers

  • Festival President: Marco Solari
  • Artistic director: Carlo Chatrian




Official website



Locarno Festival​
via Franchino Rusca 1
CH – 6600 Locarno

Phone: +41 91 756 21 21
Fax: +41 91 756 21 49


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Dates & Deadlines
  • Opening date
    February 04, 2019
  • Early Deadline
    March 24, 2020
  • Regular Deadline
    May 06, 2020
  • Late Deadline
    May 27, 2020
  • Event dates
    5 — 15 August 2020
Categories & Fees
  • Early Deadline — ₣30
  • Regular Deadline — ₣50
  • Late Deadline — ₣70
  • Early Deadline — ₣100
  • Regular Deadline — ₣130
  • Late Deadline — ₣160
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