THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION IS MARKED BY THE THEME OF IMMIGRANTS, APPROACHED FROM ALL ANGLES AND IN ALL ITS FEATURES, PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
IN THE JURY, THE ITALIAN PROGRAMMER TERESA CAVINA, THE IRANIAN FILMMAKER AYAT NAJAFI AND THE ANIMATOR ESTONE ÜLO PIKKOV
GUESTS OF HONOR OF THIS EDITION: THE FRENCH DIRECTOR PATRICE LECONTE, THE ITALIAN ANIMATOR LEONARDO CARRANO AND THE INDIAN RAISING STAR MAARIA SAYED, PROTAGONISTS OF PROJECTIONS, MASTERCLASSES AND INTERVIEWS
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: A FOCUS ON THE ASSASSIN’S CREED VIDEOGAME SAGA, TRIBUTES TO THE WORLD FILM FAIR AND BABELSBERG FILMMAKING ACADEMY. FURTHERMORE: YOUNG FILMMAKERS OF CA’ FOSCARI AND VENICE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY. RECURRING APPOINTMENTS WITH THE MOST INTERESTING SHORTS OF THE FAR EAST, ITALIAN VIDEO-ART, ‘PASINETTI’ VIDEO COMPETITION, AND THE CINEMA OF THE ORIGINS THIS YEAR FOCUSED ON 3D. GREAT CLOSING CEREMONY WITH A MUSIC AND LIVE-PAINTING PERFORMANCE
COLLATERAL COMPETITIONS: MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION, THE “OLGA BRUNNER LEVI” PRIZE AND THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW ‘THE CREATORS OF THE FUTURE’
The ninth edition of the Ca ‘Foscari Short Film Festival will take place from March 20th to 23rd. The Santa Margherita Auditorium of Venice will host as usual the thirty short films of the International Competition, by students of film schools and universities from all over the world, and a series of special programs, tributes and masterclasses involving numerous international guests.
The Festival, organized in collaboration with the Venice Foundation, with the support of the Levi Foundation and NH Hotel Rio Novo and with the partnership of M9 – Museo del Novecento, is the first in Europe entirely conceived, organized and run by a university and it remains faithful to its mission of being an event designed by young people for young people: they are the protagonists of this great celebration, on both sides of the screen. The “Short” is, indeed, conceived as a professional training moment for Ca ‘Foscari volunteer students, who always provide new lifeblood to the festival’s already proven organizational machine, led by experienced professionals with the coordination of the artistic and organizational director Roberta Novielli. The active participation of students remains a central element in the philosophy of the Short, since young people are involved in all stages of its realization: from the catalogue to logistics, from the press office to subtitles, from the filming group to distribution.
The International Competition, the central moment of the event, has become over the years a renowned platform where to display the best short films made by young directors who attend or have just graduated the most prestigious film schools and universities of the world. Moreover, this year the participation was particularly impressive, with over 3,400 works coming from 114 countries that led to a selection of the highest level so far. In the end, we have 23 countries represented involving very different filmmaking styles, with works coming from Malaysia, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Lebanon, Venezuela, Iran and the United States, among others. Of course, remarkably strong is the European presence, where some of the most prestigious film schools in the world are located, looking in particular at Germany, France and Great Britain, but not to mention Italy, which has three short films in the Competition.
Despite the great geographical diversity, it is possible to notice a common thread that unites many of the works in Competition and is the very current and painful theme of immigrants. Although we are mostly immersed in the Italian reality, strongly affected by the subject, we must not forget that the phenomenon is present – with different modes, purposes and effects – everywhere. The short films of the Competition give us a strong and traumatic depiction of these events, tackling the topic from different angles and perspectives, even audacious ones, as in the case of the Spanish Clandestine by Gerard Vidal-Cortes with a smuggler as the protagonist, one of the many links in the chain of exploitation, ready to leave for yet another journey, aware that the boat and fuel will not be enough to make it safely to their destination. Antonio Messana, an Italian student at the French school La Femis, remains in the Mediterranean basin on the route that leads from Africa to Europe with Rosso: a true lie about a fisherman. The short film follows the story of the homonymous fisherman, who runs into the body of a migrant off the coast of Sicily. The debate with his son regarding how to deal with the body exemplifies the two opposing perspectives, the humanitarian and the cynical and materialistic one. Another Italian director, Edoardo Bramucci of the Film Academy of Rome, takes on a very different point of view with Nooh, the opposite point of view of an African child who has come to Italy. The child, completely lost in the new reality, seeks refuge in an imaginary world by the sea, until his encounter with an Italian girl. The Iranian Raheel, created by Ayat Asadi Rahbar, leads us on the border between Afghanistan and Iran, where a woman embarks on a desperate journey between the two countries in an effort to reunite with her husband. The events in which she is involved and the people she meets will, however, change her view of the world. There are also short films dealing with immigrants and immigration in a indirect way, scanning the differences within the societies of their destinations. Saszka by Katarzyna Lesisz, is the story of a Ukrainian woman who, in order to obtain a Polish passport, accepts a marriage of convenience but, when her husband dies, she finally hopes to follow her true heart. On the other hand, we can find a dark fairy-tale tone in People Talk by Grzegorz Paprzyck, where two children of Roma origin enter a forest in search of a man and his treasure. The adventure soon becomes an allegorical parable on the difficult process of integration within a xenophobic context. There are also films with lighter tones such as the Indian Dhachka, or others more gender-focused, with a particular regard for the thriller, as in the Chinese animated short film The Intruder and the French Stuck in the Middle, while the third Italian in the Competition, As it is on Earth by Pier Lorenzo Pisano, treats with tenderness and realism the lives of the survivors of the earthquake in the area of Amatrice in 2016. (Here all the 30 short films of the 2019 International Competition: http://cafoscarishort.unive.it/concorso-internazionale)
This year the International Competition has “doubled” because, thanks to the partnership with the brand new M9 – Museo del Novecento di Mestre, a multimedia museum unique in Italy, the competing works will also be protagonists of two days of projections – 11 and 12 April 2019 – in this avant-garde structure, with the participation of numerous guests.
Judging the 30 shorts in the Competition will be the task of the international jury, composed by three renowned professionals in the field, starting with the Italian Teresa Cavina, historical programmer of the first Locarno Festival and the Festa di Roma, giving a fundamental contribution in the process to turn the Abu Dhabi Film Festival into the most prestigious film event of the whole Middle East. With the New Cinema Network, she also tries to promote and circulate the works of new directors. Ayat Najafi is an Iranian director transplanted to Berlin, author of renown documentaries presented in many international festivals such as Football Undercover (2008) – best documentary at the Berlinale – and No Land’s Song (2014). His films speak to his country of origin, facing the wounds of the present and the recent past which are not yet healed. Finally, the Estonian Ülo Pikkov, producer, director and university professor, is best known for his activities as an animator and has collaborated with the most important animation studios in his country. His more experimental works, created with the stop-motion technique, are acclaimed in the major world festivals of the industry. For example, Body Memory won the Best Animated Short Film Award at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival in 2008.
The jurors will be, as usual, the protagonists of a Special Jury Program during which they will meet the public and present short films directed or selected by them. Teresa Cavina has chosen a film which she feels particularly close to, Condom Lead (2013) by Arab and Tarzan Nasser, a love story set in the under attack Gaza Strip. Ayat Najafi will present her latest short film, Nothing Has Ever Happened Here (2016), a documentary fiction about the devastating effects of an armed conflict in Iran. Finally, Ülo Pikkov will introduce two of his most recent stop-motion animations: Tik-Tak (2015), on the ephemeral nature of time, and Letting Go (2017), inspired by the Japanese hinamatsuri tradition.
The International Competition includes a First Prize for the best short film, the Honorable Mention ‘Volumina’ for the best art film, the ‘Pateh Sabally’ Prize awarded by the Municipality of Venice and dedicated to the theme of multi-ethnicity, and the ‘Levi’ Award for the best soundtrack offered by the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation and assigned by a special jury composed of Roberto Calabretto, Massimo Contiero, Daniele Furlati and Luisa Zanoncelli. The awards are original glass sculptures, especially made by the Murano glassmaker Alessandro Mandruzzato.
This year’s poster is an original composition by the great Italian cartoonist Giorgio Carpinteri: futuristic lines follow each other and intertwine, forming characters and variegated figures that overlap, mingle, unite in the name of a diversity that is not only a value, but a symbol of acceptance, the same promoted by the Short and the city of Venice.
To accompany the International Competition there is also a rich proposal of special programs, events, workshops and masterclasses with international guests. First of all, the French filmmaker Patrice Leconte who will be the protagonist of a long interview curated by Gabrielle Gamberini, professor at the Ca’ Foscari University and Deputry Director of the Alliance Française in Venice. It will also be an opportunity to see and comment together with the author some clips of his most famous works such as The Hairdresser’s Husband, Ridicule, Girl on the Bridge, Man on the Train, The Suicide Shop and Love that does not die, works distributed all over the world that earned him numerous prizes, such as the César, Bafta, David and an Oscar nomination. Equally interesting will be the masterclass with the Italian Leonardo Carrano, interviewed on the stage of the Auditorium by Paola Bristot, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Carrano is one of the greatest exponents of experimental animation in Europe, which is characterized by the combined use of different techniques and materials such as pencil drawing, 3D animation, painted silicon, engraving, rotoscope, photocopies, and even using acid and encaustic on the film. The audience will not only have the precious opportunity to enjoy a comprehensive screening of his works on the big screen, but they will also attend his masterclass on his methods to work with film.
Maaria Sayed is one of the most interesting figures in Indian film scene. During the special program curated by Cecilia Cossio, the public will appreciate a cinema that pays particular attention to the female point of view and the problematic position of women within Indian society. Examples of his vision are the two short films that Sayed will present in Venice: Aabida (2013), on a woman who realizes her condition of oppression on the background of the terrorist attacks of 2008, and Chudala (2016) which, referring to the Sanskrit mythology, puts on stage a woman forced to dress up as a man in order to talk to her father.
The Festival has always stood out for an inclusive proposal that does not limit itself to proposing ‘pure’ cinema in a self-referential way, but embraces different forms of expression through images, web-series, advertising and video-art. In this sense, dedicating a special program to the world of video games represents an important step forward. The main subject is the famous Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed saga, one of the most successful and long-lived in the last two decades. As an example of media mixing, a series of three live-action shorts will be presented, titled Assassin’s Creed Lineage and produced to fit into the videogame universe. In addition, a series of trailers made for the launch of the several new chapters of the series will be presented, which have nothing to envy to the Hollywood ones, even if produced only with computer graphics.
The inclusive philosophy of the Short also incorporates the celebration of events and initiatives that share the same passion and intrigued look towards emerging talents, replicating the World Film Fair. This new reality, although based in the United States, promises to create an international network of festivals and concert halls for the distribution of works by young authors. The four that will be presented in this special program include the Italian Stefano De Felici with Ferruccio. Story of a (little) robot.
The same spirit is shared by program dedicated to the oldest German film school, the ‘Konrad Wolf’ Film University of Babelsberg. Thanks to the synergy with the historic Babelsberg Studio, the first large-scale film studios in the world, the school has established itself over time as one of the most prestigious in Europe, especially in the field of animation. This special program is dedicated to the latter and includes the screening of five real animated goodies produced last year.
We return to Italy, but with our eyes always on the new generations, with two special programs consecrated to the films produced by young aspiring directors in Venice. The first one is for the students of the Ca’ Foscari Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in Filmmaking, who during the academic year produced a series of works, among which a documentary of comparison between Venice and Jeju (South Korea), a ” video-challenge “set in a library, a music video and an homage to the Alumni association. Lastly, a trailer of their ‘graduation feature film’, The Unreliables, is a collective work that reinterprets Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler.
The other project is linked to the Venice International Universit, which has created a Summer School in collaboration with five other universities with the aim of combining theory and cinematographic practices and applying them to the representations of Venice through a multidisciplinary approach. 24 students from different countries, supervised by professionals of the sector, have thus created five short films to complete their studies. They will be presented at the Short for this first edition of Films in Venice and Filming Venice.
We’ll move to the other side of the world with the special program East Asia Now, curated by Stefano Locati, which will present four short films representing the new film trends in China, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. Although each of these works is defined by a different style, they are all united by the attention to the social context, portrayed through unusual points of view, such as that of a fly in the Chinese animation of A Fly in the Restaurant or that of a Korean in Japan in the Japanese documentary fiction That Man From the Peninsula.
The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival is not only about the future. Every year the festival recognizes the fundamental contribution to the Seventh Art brought by historical figures dedicating a space to the cinema of the origins, as always curated by Carlo Montanaro. This year the program, titled Once Upon a Time, 3D pays tribute to Ladislas Starewitch, a true pioneer of 3D animation and stop-motion. After starting his career in Russia, Starewitch moved to France to perfect his animation technique, and from this time in his career comes a series of revolutionary works ranging from the 10s up to the 50s.
Another recurring appointment of the Short is The Suspended Glance, the window on the most recent Italian video-art curated by Elisabetta Di Sopra. Thanks to the collaboration with the expert Enrico Tomasselli, eight works by eight video artists have been selected as the best expressions of the latest trends in our country. Particular attention was given to the theme of the human body, especially the female form, as six of the eight artists involved are indeed women.
The appointment with the Video Competition Pasinetti, the historical review of Venice organized by Daniela Manzolli, is also back with its sixteenth edition under the direction of Michela Nardin. The exhibition, which has always focused on the dynamics of the Venetian territory and the promotion of cinema in the Venetian lagoon, is honored in the Short Film Festival with a selection of the best works of the past edition, starting with the winner A Man Called Toni by Marta Pasqualini.
Lastly, another acclaimed appointment is renewed: the Videoke! Is a fun reinterpretation of the karaoke concept in which players must try their hand at dubbing the dialogues of famous pieces of film, and the Short Meeting Point, a social moment with the young directors of the International Competition.
Finally, both collateral competitions developed in recent years are confirmed once again, followed by the announcement of a third from year 2020: this is the new international project The Creators of the Future curated by Luca Finotti, open to students of film schools and universities all over the world. Participants are invited to present works that translate the creativity dedicated to a brand communication worldwide, without restrictions. The competition will be presented on this edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival and the first works will be featured in a special program next year.
The third edition of the Music Video Competition by Giovanni Bedeschi is reserved for music videos made by students from Italian and international universities and schools of cinema. This year the eleven finalists come from Switzerland, Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, United States, Norway, Russia, Poland and Italy; the latter represented by Frank by Filippo di Piramo and Sand Castles by Roberta Palmieri.
The “Olga Brunner Levi” Prize, organized in collaboration with the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation, reaches its sixth edition. Students from all over the world take part in this competition dedicated to the theme of women in music. Here we have five finalists coming from the United States, Turkey, Romania and two from Kosovo.
This year, the performance for the Closing Ceremony is by Cosimo Miorelli and Giorgio Pacorig who with CU(L)T! will offer a live performance in which music and digital live-painting will give life to a unique type of show.