Italian producer, director, and film and TV industry pioneer Renzo Rossellini is being honored with the Locarno Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award.
The Swiss fest dedicated to indie cinema will pay tribute to the consummate filmmaker and renaissance man – who as a producer shepherded works by master directors such as Federico Fellini, Lina Wertmüller, Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola – with a screening of Fellini’s 1980 work “City of Women” on its 8,000 seat open-air Piazza Grande venue on Aug. 10, followed by an onstage conversation the next day.
Rossellini who also worked as assistant director for his father Roberto and, among others, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol – and is a director in his own right – “Has never ceased his quest to pass on his knowledge of the cinema, teaching generations of students and cineastes with passion and commitment,” the fest said in a statement.
“Film is a tool for learning about the world: Renzo Rossellini has taught that lesson unstintingly, becoming a pivotal figure in modern cinema,” said Locarno Artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro in a statement.
“His own love of film came from his family and has stayed with him throughout his life. Gifted with infallible instincts and led by his passion, he has left a deep and lasting mark,” he added.
Renzo Rossellini was born in Rome in 1941, the son of late great Italian master Roberto Rossellini and Marcella De Marchis. He studied history and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, later working in France as assistant director to François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. He then began a collaboration with his father Roberto, initially as assistant director and later as producer, which lasted till 1977.
He later founded and led two production companies, Gaumont Italia and Artisti Associati, producing, financing and distributing over one hundred films. Rossellini later taught film production at Rome’s NUCT film school, and history of European cinema at UCLA, among other universities. In 1981 he set up and directed the Gaumont Film School in Rome whose alumni include directors Daniele Luchetti, Giuseppe Piccioni, Antonello Grimaldi and Valerio Jalongo, and producers such as Domenico Procacci.
Previous Locarno lifetime achievement award winners include Harrison Ford, Alain Delon, Jacqueline Bisset, Harvey Keitel, and Dario Argento.
The 76th edition of Locarno will run Aug. 2-12.