Locarno Film Festival to give producing prize to Participant Media CEO David Linde

The Locarno Film Festival will give its 2016 tribute award for independent producers, the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico, to David Linde, chief executive of Participant Media.

Running this year from August 3-13 in Locarno, Switzerland, the festival has become one of the key stops on the annual international circuit thanks to its savvy programming and summer position after Cannes, which starts this week, but before the crush of fall festivals including Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York and L.A.’s AFI Fest.

“David Linde's eclectic career and take on film is a perfect fit for the spirit of exploration that drives the Locarno Festival,” said festival artistic director Carlo Chatrian in a statement. “In all his ventures, whether working with the majors or independent production companies, Linde has established himself as having a keen eye for the most original voices in cinema.

“Cinema, today more than ever, needs people like him,” continued Chatrian’s statement, "people who are able to bring disparate worlds together, giving unique stories the universality that cinema can offer.”

Productions backed by Participant Media brought home three Oscars this year, with best picture and original screenplay going to “Spotlight” and best supporting actor going to Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies.” Participant Media’s films had a total of 13 Oscar nominations this year.

“Carlo and his team at Locarno have curated a very distinguished festival bringing together filmmakers from around the world and championing their important work,” said Linde in a statement. “In leading a company that believes so strongly in the power of a story well told, it's a tremendous honor to accept the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico award and join the ranks of previous recipients whom I so greatly admire.”

The Premio Raimondo Rezzoncio was established in 2002 in memory of the festival’s chairman for almost 20 years. Previous recipients of the award include Christine Vachon, Menahem Golan, Mike Medavoy and Arnon Milchan. The 2015 recipient was the Japanese company Office Kitano.

Prior to his time at Participant, Linde was at Miramax Films and Miramax Films International, where he was involved in acquisition of films such as Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” and Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and international distribution of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient.”

Linde was partner of production company Good Machine and then co-president of Focus Features during a time that saw him involved with a slate of films including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Biutiful,” “Happiness,” “The Pianist” and “Lost In Translation.” Linde was also chairman of Universal Pictures, overseeing the production and distribution of a wide range of international releases.

The 2016 slate for Participant media includes Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon,” J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls,” Pablo Larrain’s “Neruda,” Derek Cianfrance’s “The Light Between Oceans” and Alex Gibney’s “Zero Days.”

The 2015 edition of the festival in Locarno included the premieres of what would turn out to be the final films from both Adrzej Zulawski and Chantal Akerman, who both died in the months following.

The 2015 festival also included tributes to Edward Norton and Michael Cimino. Also screening at the festival last year were “Me and Earl And The Dying Girl” “Ricki and the Flash,” “Southpaw,” and “Trainwreck.” Other films last year included Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier,” Rick Alverson’s “Entertainment,” Josh Mond’s “James White,” “

The winner of the festival’s top prize in 2015 was Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then.” 

Mark.Olsen@latimes.com

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