Applications open: 2021 Documentary Summer School at Locarno Film Festival

Locarno, Switzerland / HYBRID (9.-14.8.2021), 25. July 2021.

“Ethics, gender and documentary in the representation of the other”

09.08-14.08.2021, Locarno, Switzerland

Submission Deadline: 25 July 2021

Summer School Description:

*Conditions of participation:*

The Documentary Summer School (DSS), jointly organized by the Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG) of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and the Locarno Film Festival, is open to up to 36 graduate students (Master and PhD) in the fields of film, media and communication studies. Now in its 22nd edition, the DSS explores different topics relevant to the research and production of documentaries. Given the great pervasiveness with which images and representations currently spread, this year the DSS has decided to dedicate a privileged space to the intertwining of ethics, gender, documentary and, more generally, the modes of communication when we represent the other. This is particularly important when we consider that the respectful coexistence between people who differ in culture, sexual orientation, origin, and religion is becoming an issue of crucial importance in many countries.

Participation to the DSS and the production of final paper on the topics of the DSS will award students 3 ECTS.


This year's DSS lectures will be offered in a hybrid format, with the possibility to participate in person or online.

There are 6 spots for students that can come to Locarno for the Festival. The participation fee is 470 CHF and includes:
- Online lectures
- Two virtual Q&As with directors of films selected for the Locarno Film Festival
- An assigned classroom with free Wi-Fi to follow the online lectures and Q&As
- Bed and breakfast for seven nights, in a single room, at the Locarno Youth Hostel (9-14 August 2021)
- Accreditation valid for Festival screenings and related Festival activities (9-14 August 2021).

There are 30 spots for students who will not be able to come to Locarno in person due to  COVID-19 restriction. The participation fee is 170 CHF and includes:
- Online lectures
- Two virtual Q&As with directors of films selected for the Locarno Film Festival
- Specifically curated virtual screenings of movies from the Festival’s special sections as well as films related to the main DSS topic. 


Candidates shall submit via email to <> their CV and a motivation letter. Submitted dossiers will be evaluated by the scientific board, and selected participants will be notified via email within two weeks after their submission.

Further enquires can also be sent to this email address.


The main topic of the DSS – ethics, gender and documentary in the representation of the other – will be addressed during the following meetings with a series of guests:
- “The ethics of representing the other - introduction and main issues”, – conducted by Cristina Lasagni, professor of Cinema and Documentary at the Università della Svizzera italiana and DSS Scientific Director.
- “Participatory cinema and documentary”, – conducted by Andrea Segre, award-winning filmmaker who has directed over 20 documentary and fiction films.
- “Ethics and Gender”, – conducted by Rula Jebreal, award-winning journalist, novelist and screenwriter. Her first book, Miral, translated into fifteen languages, was made into a film and won the UNICEF Protection of children award.
- “Ethics of film funding”, – conducted by Nevina Satta, CEO Sardinia Film Commission.
- Two Q&As with directors selected by the Semaine de la Critique
- Other guests will be announced in the following weeks.

As part of the DSS 2021, private virtual screenings of films from the Locarno Film Festival and from the filmography of the DSS guests will also be offered. The selected films will be thematically linked to the daily lectures and will be the focus of discussions and panel sessions. By analyzing films through the contribution of scholars and filmmakers, the DSS 2021 will delve into the ethics of documentary filmmaking, the eventual ethical guidelines used by filmmakers and how these guidelines are indispensable to face the challenges posed by the new media landscape. At least two of the screenings will be devoted to the viewing of films in the selection of the Semaine de la critique followed by a live Q&A with the director.