Film Independent Spirit Awards Moves to Gender-Neutral Acting Categories

The Locarno Film Festival will introduce gender-neutral acting awards for its 76th annual ceremony in 2023, festival organizers announced Wednesday.

Already a festival that embraces diverse voices and gender parity (in 2018 it became the second world festival and first in Switzerland to sign the Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema), Locarno’s announcement comes on the heels of other film organizations like the Independent Spirit Awards and the British Independent Film Awards announcing similar initiatives. It is among the first world festivals to present gender-neutral acting categories.

“We believe that the choice we have made will further enhance our efforts to showcase and reward talent and creativity, transcending individual categories that are now obsolete,” Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, said in a statement. “The world is moving forward on a path that is most definitely non-binary.”

Locarno Film Festival President Marco Solari added: “As President I welcome this proposal from the Artistic Director and his team, which is perfectly in tune with the changing sensibilities that are necessary today.”

Anticipated to run Aug. 2–Aug. 12, 2023, the 76th annual Locarno Film Festival will begin hosting two major, gender-neutral competitions, the Concorso internazionale and Concorso Cineasti del presente, which will each present two Pardo awards for the best performances.

Per a release from the festival, “this amendment to the Festival’s regulations will allow every performer, irrespective of their gender identity, to compete for the awards.”

The Locarno Film Festival just wrapped its 11-day, 75th annual celebration Aug. 13.

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