Bruno Ganz, 2011

Marie Pérennou and Claude Nuridsany, 2011

Alessandro D'Alatri, 2012

Anna Galiena, 2012

Gurinder Chadha, 2012

Aamir Khan, 2013

Saskia Rosendahl, 2013

Sebastian Koch, 2014

Bruno Ganz recalls rainy screenings in Piazza Grande under an umbrella. The two directors of Microcosmos, Marie Pérennou and Claude Nuridsany, talk about how their tiny actor-insects turned into giants on the enormous screen.

Director Alessandro D’Alatri remembers the fear of realizing that soon thousands of people will be watching your film out in the open air. For Anna Galiena, the often vociferous public brings with it the joyous spirit of her childhood film-watching.

Everyone has their own Piazza Grande memories, and every evening they’ll be served up as an appetizer, before Olivier Père takes to the stage to announce the start of the programmed films. After the ritual tolling of the bell tower, a pair of black and yellow chairs will appear on the screen, the same as the ones filling the piazza. Only this time they will be placed elsewhere, among the stalls of a market in Zurich, surrounded by the green French countryside or on the cobblestones of an old Roman street.

The chairs will be located in the hometowns of actors or directors who over the course of various festivals have seen their film win the Prix du Public UBS. This idea of a return, condensed into a minute and a half of memories, greetings and thanks, will be a celebration of the anniversary of one of the Locarno Film Festival’s mainstays. For 20 years now, the audience sitting in the piazza has become the world’s largest open-air jury, casting their votes for the film they enjoyed the most.

Whether Smoke by Wayne Wang, Das Leben der Anderen by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Bend it like Beckham by Gurinder Chadha or The Human Resources Manager by Eran Riklis, a look at the long list of the winners shows how it represents not only the most recent history of the Locarno Film Festival, but also a good slice of the history of contemporary cinema.

These little capsule films that will open all the evenings in the Piazza Grande are our way of refreshing that history, a way of renewing tradition but also of launching visions of the present and the future through a dive into the past. And a reminder that once again it will be you in the piazza who choose who will sit next year on those leopard-adorned seats, scattered around the world.