USI and the Locarno Film Festival to create a joint professorship on the future of cinema and the visual arts

©Locarno Film Festival
©Locarno Film Festival

Institutional Communication Service

27 July 2020

The Locarno Film Festival and the University of Italian-speaking Switzerland (USI) are to strengthen their partnership with the creation of a professorship dedicated to theoretical thought on the future of cinema and film festivals, entitled “Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts”. The call for applications, which will open in the coming months, will seek an individual with an international academic profile, capable of combining research and teaching activities at USI with an ongoing consultancy role vis-à-vis the Festival’s initiatives on training and education and its own development.

The synergy between the Locarno Film Festival and USI has taken shape over the past twenty years in several key activities of the Locarno Academy, such as the Documentary Summer School. These have been joined by more recent collaborations in the field of strategic and organizational development, in addition to the partnership as part of Locarno Media City, which, among other innovations, will enhance the role and utilization of the Locarno Film Festival archives.

The 2020 edition of the Festival, dedicated to the future of the cinema in all its aspects, both artistic and economic, provides an opportunity to develop the relationship still further in a joint cultural project. Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films will see the creation at USI’s Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society of a chair that will combine academic duties with a close consultancy role with the Festival itself, acting as a vector for reflection, research and teaching on the future of film and its dissemination.

Locarno Film Festival President Marco Solari: “After years of ongoing cordial relations, we are delighted to give practical shape to the rapprochement between USI and our Festival, in collaboration with the PalaCinema, in the shape of an international academic figure that will give significant additional input to the debate on the strategic perspectives for the Festival. I am convinced that the impact of this collaboration at institutional level will provide yet further proof of the excellent synergies in the Canton Ticino.”

Boas Erez, Rector of USI: “In the 21st century, knowledge is not to be found only in research institutions, but is widespread across society: that’s why USI is a firm believer in the importance of networking. I am especially pleased about this collaboration with the Locarno Film Festival, which will bring a range of mutual benefits and allow us to explore the new frontiers of a constantly evolving sector, at the same time creating added value for our region.”


Theoretical reflections and practices in the field

The successful applicant will enjoy privileged access to the work of the Locarno Film Festival, making a significant contribution to one of the central missions in the Festival’s current institutional direction within the context of the PalaCinema project, which is designed to be a center of excellence for growth in cinema culture, fostering new audiences and reflecting on the future of festivals.

Carla Speziali, Vice-President of the Locarno Film Festival and President of the PalaCinema: “The new professorship shows that the PalaCinema is part of a dynamic reality: joined up to a network where initiatives and content are developed that place it in a privileged position to perform its function as a platform for exchange and fostering collaborations. As a citizen of Locarno I am delighted by these developments.”

In parallel, the USI/LFF Professor will be engaged in the academic sphere, using his or her professional experience at the Festival as the groundwork for the development of specific research and teaching pathways. USI currently addresses topics linked to cinema, audiovisual arts and event organization across several different disciplines; the presence of this new figure will both coordinate and expand the outreach of this knowhow, strengthening the position of the university as a center of research on film and the audiovisual.


The selection process

USI Rector Boas Erez, Festival President Marco Solari and the President of the PalaCinema Carla Speziali have set up a joint working group, made up of three members from USI’s Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society and three members from the Locarno Film Festival; Francesco Lurati, Carla Mazzarelli and Luca Visconti from USI, and Raphaël Brunschwig, Stefano Knuchel and Daniela Persico from Locarno Film Festival. The working group has drawn up a profile of the ideal candidate for the position, whose background will be in either film or audiovisual arts. The appointment will be decided jointly by USI and the Locarno Film Festival on the basis of a range of criteria.


Further details will be announced over the coming weeks.