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Unifrance Energizes Locarno

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John Hopewell Chief International CorrespondentThere’s a new giant in town, or at least at Locarno’s Match Me!, one of the festival’s biggest industry initiatives.For years, by a large head, France has had more titles at the Locarno Festival’s two biggest sections, the Piazza Grande showcase and main International Competition than any other country in the world.

2022 is no exception.Unifrance also hosts the Festival’s biggest industry bash, a first Friday night sit-down dinner or party which used to take place at Locarno’s hillside Belvedere Hotel and has now moved to the near Maggiore Lake-side Blu Restaurant.Now, however, Unifrance, Europe’s biggest national film-TV promotion board, has put its weight behind Match Me!, a networking initiative this year bringing together 32 emerging producers from over the world. “It’s a perfect fit,” said Locarno Pro head Markus Duffner.

Unifrance’s first-time presence at Match Me! also says much about the strategic priorities of European states as they emerge from pandemic, and a lot about the current state of the film industry at large.“The part of our industry which most needs Unifrance’s help to be connected with international networks” are its emerging producers, Axel Scoffier, Unifrance general secretary told Variety.“Some young producers don’t wait for us to travel to festivals.

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