Locarno Film Festival

Annually held every August in Locarno, Switzerland, and coming into being in 1946, Locarno film festival is one of the longest-running festivals and serves as a notable platform for art house films. The festival screens films in numerous competitive and non-competitive genres, encompassing feature-length narrative and documentary, short, avant-garde, and retrospective kinds. With 8000 viewers, the Piazza Grande section takes place in one of the world’s biggest open-air screening venues.

The first and foremost prize of the Festival is the Golden Leopard, given to the best film in the International Competition. Rest of the awards include but are not limited tothe Prix du Public UBS, the public choice awards and the Leopard of Honour for career achievement.


The Festival del film Locarno commenced on 23 August 1946, at the Grand Hotel of Locarno with the display of the movie O sole mio by GiacomoGentilomo. The first edition was managed within three months encompassing 15 movies, majority of them being Italian and American, among which was Rome, Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini,Double Indemnity by Billy Wilder (1944),And Then There Were None directed by René Clair (1945) and The Song of Bernadette by Henry King (1943).

Later, the Festival del film Locarno screened features and short films by numerous international directors such as Claude Chabrol,Catherine Breillat, Stanley Kubrick, Chen Kaige,Paul Verhoeven, Miloš Forman, Marco Bellocchio,ChristophSchaub, Glauber Rocha, Ang Lee,Raúl Ruiz, Alain Tanner, Mike Leigh, BélaTarr, Edward Yang, AlexandrSokurov, Atom Egoyan, Jim Jarmusch, Gregg Araki, Abbas Kiarostami, Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa, Fatih Akin, Claire Denis and Kim Ki-Duk.

Awards Granted At TheConcorsoInternazionale (International Competition)

  • Pardod’oro(Golden Leopard): It is the grand prize of the festival presented to the best film in the ConcorsoInternazionale bestowed by the city and region of Locarno. The award is claimed equally by the director and the producer.
  • Special Jury Prize: This prize is given to the second-best film in the ConcorsoInternazionale by cities of Ascona and Losone. The award is claimed equally by the director and the producer.
  • Leopard for Best Direction: This award is presented to recognise the best film direction, bestowed by the city and region of Locarno.
  • Leopard for Best Actress
  • Leopard for Best Actor
  • Swatch First Feature Awards: Prize given by a jury of international critics to the first works displayed in the sections ConcorsoInternazionale, ConcorsoCineasti del Presente, FuoriConcorso, Signs of Life and Piazza Grande.

the Locarno film festival screening venue


Awards Granted At TheConcorsoCineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the Present)

  • Pardod’oroCineasti del presente: This is the prize awarded to the first and second-best film of this competition.
  • Ciné+ Special Jury Prize: The prize of this award is in terms of the French television channel Ciné+ Club bestowing the rights of broadcasting to the film which wins the competition. The channel gives them access to the transmission on their station.
  • Leopard for Best New Director: This is the award given to the best new director.
  • Leopard for the Best First Feature: It is the award which has been given from 2006 to 2009 to the best first work displayed in the competition ConcorsoInternazionale or ConcorsoCineasti del presente.

Awards Granted At ThePardi di Domani (Leopards of Tomorrow)

  • Pardinod’ororepresenting the Best International Short Film is the accolade awarded to the best international short film in the competition.
  • Pardinod’ororepresenting the Best Swiss Short Film is the award granted to the best short film in the national competition.
  • Pardinod’argento for the International Competition is the award given to a film in the international competition.
  • Pardinod’argento Swiss Life is the award given to the winning filmof the national competition.
  • Pianifica Prize – Locarno short film nominee for the European Film Awards: The prize, which is given by the studio Pianifica, goes to a short film made by a European director, displayed in one of the two competitions. The award comprises an automatic nomination in the category of a short film of the European Film Awards.

Award for Best Swiss Newcomer

The prize gives access to the equipment offered by Freestudios SA,Visuals SA,Cinegrell.

PremioMedien Patent Verwaltung AG

The victorious film is subtitled in three central European languages. This subtitling can be done on DVD format, film or video.

Special Awards

Pardod’onore Swisscom

Since 20 years, the Pardod’onore (Leopard of Honour, since 2009 Pardod’onore Swisscom) has lent a chance to acknowledge illustrious film directors who symbolise the very idea of cinema which the festival has propped up so enthusiastically since its advent.


Excellence Award

Annually, the Excellence Award, sponsored by Moët etChandon, celebrates few internationally recognised actors or actresses who have given the cinema unique masterpieces through their hard work and sheer talent. Since 2004, the Locarno Festival has been given the honour for paying tribute to Oleg Menshikov, Susan Sarandon,Isabelle Huppert, John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe,Gael García Bernal, Carmen Maura, Michel Piccoli, Toni Servillo, Charlotte Rampling,Chiara Mastroianni, Victoria Abril and Sir Christopher Lee, Juliette Binoche, Giancarlo Giannini and Edward Norton. In 2016 the prize was given to Bill Pullman.


Spanning over a long history, the Locarno Film Festival has had the pleasure to welcome stars as Marlene Dietrich, Jean-Luc Godard, Quentin Tarantino, Susan Sarandon, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Juliette Binoche, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel or Adrien Brody. It is the uniqueness of Locarno that it annually attracts significant personalities associated with the film industry from across the globe, who join together and rediscover the magic of cinema in the beautiful city of Locarno.