Video interview

The festival directors:
Olivier Père, Locarno

Olivier Père

Locarno’s new director Olivier Père tells us about the challenges ahead for film festivals, cinema and cinephilia

Olivier Père came to prominence as director of Cannes’ highly eclectic, non-competitive Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Director’s Fortnight) strand, where between 2004 and 2009 he programmed films including Lisandro Alonso’s Los Muertos, Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation, Albert Serra’s Honour of the Knights, Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, Miguel Gomes’ Our Beloved Month of August and Pablo Larraín’s Tony Manero.

“It was a space of near-total freedom and independence in the midst of a magma of a place – an opportunity to take advantage of something ‘enormous’ while staying small, independent and free,” he says.

This year Père has made the transition from the Croisette to the Swiss Alps, and from programming an offbeat, 20-film selection to directing the entire Locarno festival. We sat down with him in London to discuss the cinematic view from his new Alpine base: the ‘death’ and transfiguration of cinema, the dangers of populism and elitism and the rising role of festivals in keeping films vital.

1. On Locarno’s signature Piazza Grande showcase:

2. On the perils of cinephilia:

3. Taking the pulse of cinema:

4. On multi-tasking programmers:

5. The new role of film festivals:

The Locarno International Film Festival runs until 15 August

Thanks to our interviewer Jonathan Romney and translator Guillaume Gendron.

See also

Sight & Sound’s collected festival coverage

Last Updated: 15 Nov 2010