1. The Locarno Film Festival turns 68 years old.
With its debut in 1946, Locarno is actually one of the oldest film festivals in the world, along with Venice and Cannes.
But even at 68, this festival is not showing any sings of age! It is young and cool with a very diverse audience and a unique program.
2. Europe's Sundance Festival?
The Hollywood Reporter recently called it "Europe's Sundance Festival", but I think it is the other way around: Since the very first editions, Locarno has always aimed at finding hidden gems and small, independent movies from parts of the world that are usually not much in the spotlight.
So in a way, you could say that it is the Sundance Film Festival that draws on Locarno's promoting of independent cinema.
3. Piazza Grande is the greatest movie theater ever.
Imagine a cool evening after a hot summer day. Add in a movie screen which is bigger than you have ever seen (26 × 14 m!), and fill Locarno's elegant Piazza Grande with other excited moviegoers. (It can hold up to 8000 people.)
If you are a movie buff, it does not get any better than this: Festival del Film Locarno.
4. The red carpet is pure magic.
It was my first red carpet, so I am a little biased. But the moment I spotted the red catwalk with all the pardo posters and the spots reserved for paparazzi and journalists, I was hooked.
Being on the red carpet makes you feel all the excitement of big movie premieres, and Locarno's opening night was just as exciting as it can be!
5. Being a paparazzi is kind of fun, but not my style.
OK, standing in the photographer's section of the red carpet is a lot of fun. You get to see and photograph all the celebrities from up close.
But some things are really not my style. Like calling actors by their name so that they would turn your direction. Or mercilessly shooting your flash in their faces. Those are two big no nos for me.
6. The best camera is the one that's with you.
Forget the DSRL. Drop the camera bag. Quickly whip out your iPhone and take a few killer shots with little to no effort...
That's photoblogging at its finest!
7. Edward Norton is beyond cool.
Smiling, waving, politely letting people photograph him. Warmly accepting the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon 2015 on stage, and speaking of how much he loved old Italian movies and how much he is enjoying the Locarno lake holidays.
This special guest is beyond cool. He is awesome.
8. World premieres are something worth bragging about.
During opening night, we got to enjoy the world premiere of Ricki and the Flash. If you want to see Meryl Streep rocking a guitar, this is the movie for you. And I've watched it before all of you guys (told ya!)...
9. Check out Rotonda del Festival.
Rotonda del Festival is the party within the party. Craft market, concerts, a fun park for kids. It really shows how much Locarno loves showing off during the annual Festival del Film.
10. Gelato is the perfect after-movie snack.
Skip the popcorn. Save some space for artisanal ice cream from one of the many delicious bars around Piazza Grande. Enjoy the lake view and get ready for more great movies under the stars of Locarno.
We were here last year, and we will surely be here when the festival turns 69 years old...