For the Summer period every year, you can participate in the fun film festivities of the Locarno Film Festival. This creative festival located in the Ticino canton attracts over 75,000 people each year with lots to see. Walk the village cobblestoned streets with locals, directors and famous artists. Locarno is the place to be!
History Of the Locarno Film Festival
Founded in 1946, the Locarno Film Festival has been the place-to-be for film fanatics and those in the industry. Films shown have always been with the following categories; documentary, feature-length narrative, short, avant-garde, and retrospective programs.
It was first held at the Grand Hotel of Locarno and has been running for 75 years as of 2022, but only once cancelled (the 73rd edition) due to covid. Since the first edition showing only 15 total films, the latest editions of the festival shares so many its hard to choose! It’s one of the popular events in Ticino during August.
Each year there are many awards given out to those in the industry, with the best prize of the festival being the Golden Leopard, awarded to the best film from the International Competition. Each year also has awards handed out for the best choice voted by the public and also for career achievement.
If you want to prepare and know more about Locarno before your visit? Read here!
What Can You See?
As its a film festival, the activity is in the name! There are at least 10 days long that you can enjoy lots of local, big and international films throughout the village. The festival is held in the beginning of August every year. They have multiple screens, with the biggest being at the Piazza Grande.
The local square is in my opinion the best experience ever as it’s open air. The Piazza Grande square gets decorated with 8,000 chairs for viewers. That’s right! Meaning also that 8,000 people can sit and watch a film at one time on this beautiful local square of the village. The screen is huge and the daily shows usually sell out quickly, so its always best to book in advance your tickets.
For 2022, the festival has been from 3rd August to 14th August and despite a heatwave, most shows sold out every night. For our experience, we joined the opening film on 3rd August 2022 and it was amazing. They have live viewings on the stage of the red carpet, introductions to all the judges and to the celebrities, followed by of course the film. It’s a long night (started at 9.30pm), but fully enjoyable!
Other Locarno Activities
As well as the film festival, Locarno is of course a very beautiful village to explore. With the village having many lovely restaurants, drink places and parks to relax in.
During the film festival, there are many food trucks and live music to be found at the local roundabout nearby. This roundabout is rather huge and below the main road, so it’s easy to reach and car free. You can buy drinks here as well as many international food choices. The live music is often local but also a few international bands join for the fun.
You are also right next to Lake Maggiore, which you can enjoy a boat ride or rent peddle boats for an hour or two. There are also tour boats that you can enjoy a trip to Ascona or the botanical garden Brissago Island.
You can also explore the mountain above by taking the 2 funiculars and then the final chairlift to the top to Cimetta. This is amazing to do for the stunning views of the region. There are paragliders here as well as many hikes to enjoy depending on how much time you have. Else to head to the top for a drink in the mountain restaurant is just as sweet.
Summary Locarno Film Festival
The Locarno Film Festival is a great summer festival for the August Summer period in Ticino. It attracts over 75,000 people each year, you should make sure to plan ahead if you want to be staying in the area
- For film watching at the Piazza Grande square, arrive around 1 hour earlier to get a good spot for viewing.
- Book your tickets in advance to make sure you don’t miss out!
- Take a drink/snacks with you if needed, else you can buy some while there.