Magazine article Screen International

Think Fest: Locarno, EFM, Beta Execs on How Festivals Can Stay Relevant

Magazine article Screen International

Think Fest: Locarno, EFM, Beta Execs on How Festivals Can Stay Relevant

Article excerpt

Locarno’s Carlo Chatrian, Matthijs Wouter Knol of EFM and Cosima Finkbeiner of Beta Cinema discussed festival budgets and revenues.

Click here to read Screen’s full Think Fest coverage from Jerusalem

Think Fest’s final panel explored the challenges facing film festivals in the 21st century, from the pressures of securing A-list talent to decreasing budgets. As purse strings for arts budget tighten across the world, Think Fest moderator Wendy Mitchell asked panellists whether they were feeling the squeeze.

Carlo Chatrian, artistic director of Locarno Film Festival, said that despite an overall 3% decrease in government funding for culture in Switzerland over the last year - and a further 3% decrease set to come - his festival’s budget had remained steady at around $13.5 (CHF13m).

Shortfalls in government funding could be made up by an increase in sponsors, he noted, but that came with its own challenges. The Locarno team now had more obligation to their commercial partners, with Chatrian highlighting the complex balance between commercial and artistic concerns.

He hoped starry evenings held at his summer festival - gala outdoor screenings hosted at Locarno’s Piazza Grande - would encourage attendees to seek out more arthouse titles.

“If I invite Edward Norton and people come to see his film, maybe they will notice other films,” he said.

“How do you sell a huge arthouse programme to a sponsor? …

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