The Semaine de la critique is an independent section, organised by Swiss Association of Film Journalists, in cooperation with the director and organisers of the Locarno International Film Festival.
The Semaine de la critique has its own jury which awards the Prix SRG SSR/Semaine de la critique worth 8000.– CHF for the best film in competition and the Premio Zonta Club Locarno worth 2000.- CHF for a film with extraordinary social commitment.
The Semaine de la critique was first held in 1990. Since then it has reviewed state of the art documentary film-making annually with a selection of works chosen for their specific expressive value or essence.
To date, a total of 137 films have been screened, including productions by Erroll Morris, Fredi M. Murer, Nicholas Philibert, Richard Dindo, J. van der Keuken, Zhang Yuan, Davide Ferrario, B.Z. Goldberg, Thomas Riedelsheimer or Samir, among others.
Production of selected films must have been completed after fall of the previous year. Films must last 61 minutes at least and have never been screened in a festival outside of the country of production (world or international premieres).
All works selected must be screened in their original language with french subtitles (english, german, and italian subtitles may also be permitted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the original language of the film concerned).
Locarno's Semaine de la critique is a competitive event with its own jury.
The SRG SSR / Semaine de la critique Prize, worth CHF 8'000, rewards the best documentary film in competition and goes to the director and producer. The Zonta Club Locarno Prize of Fr. 2’000.- is awarded to the director whose film especially contributes to the promotion of justice, solidarity and an ethical attitude.