Step In Day at Locarno IFF

The Step In Day conference was a presentation of the Eastern European film industry, organized on August 5 within the framework of Industry Days at the 65th Locarno International Film Festival. The Polish Film Institute was among the organizing partners of this event.

Step In

The Step In project is an industry platform for presenting the latest film productions from the region of Eastern Europe to international distributors, exhibitors, and sales agents. The event is aimed at supporting the promotion and distribution of Polish and other Eastern European films. These films often, despite their success at international film festivals, have difficulty finding an international sales agent.

Artur Liebhart Representing Poland

Twelve distributors, exhibitors and sales agents were selected for the programme that ran from August 5 through August 6 within the framework of the Industry Days programme of the Locarno International Film Festival. The selection of participants was made in cooperation with CICAE (Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et d’Essai), with Europa Distribution, representing Eastern European member states, and with the MEDIA programme. The Polish representative at the panel discussion was Artur Liebhart, director of the Planete+ Doc festival and head of Against Gravity.

Situation of the Polish Film Industry

Artur Liebhart presented the situation of independent distributors in Poland, discussed the rise of VOD platforms, the role of public television and cable networks, and outlined the process of digitization of cinemas in Poland. Emphasis was placed on the importance of financial support for digitization at the central level; this functions well in Poland but is lacking in smaller countries like Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Expert Advice

During the open discussion, focus was placed on the situation of smaller countries, including the Baltic states. Speakers included Joel Chapron, director of Unifrance, and Loïc Magneronz of Wide Management. They advised these countries to improve cooperation on the local level; this could help increase their films’ visibility across Europe and encourage local distribution of European films.

When East Meets West

The Step In conference also featured a short presentation called When East Meets West – a joint project of the Trieste International Film Festival and the Friuli Venecia Giulia regional film fund, organized in cooperation with EAVE and CEI, under the patronage of EURIMAGES, as well as a closed working group meeting among sales agents and distributors.

Promoting Polish Cinema

As part of the Step In programme, six Polish films selected by the Polish Film Institute are available  to industry reps in the Locarno IFF’s Digital Library for the entire run of the festival. These films will also be available free-of-charge for three months after the close of the festival on Festival Scope – Step In’s partner website dedicated to the film industry.

The Polish Film Institute as a Step In Partner

Step In is organized thanks to support of the MEDIA programme, in cooperation with CICAE, Europa Distribution, Europa International, Festival Scope, and the Film New Europe website. The programme’s participant countries are Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The Polish Film Institute acted as a partner institution.


The 65th edition of the Locarno International Film Festival runs through August 11.


The official website of the Locarno IFF is available at


Maria Łętowska


Translated by Karolina Kołtun