YESTERDAY AT THE JURY PROGRAM:
“We have a responsibility towards the people that come to Europe in search for salvation and we must do our best to help them start over”
IN THE LAST DAY OF THE
CA’ FOSCARI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 9:
THE WORLD OF LADISLAS STAREWITCH, THE 3D ANIMATION PIONEER, THE FINALISTS OF THE HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITION ‘OLGA BRUNNER LEVI’ AND, FOR THE NEW TENDENCIES
FROM THE FAR EAST WITH EAST ASIA NOW, A CHINESE SHORT FILM REINTERPRETING MAO’S QUOTE
“THE REVOLUTION IS NOT A DINNER PARTY”
VENICE, 23 MARZO 2019. Yesterday, during the awaited Special Program of the Jury the audience had the opportunity to come in deep contact with the three members of the international jury of this year’s edition: Teresa Cavina, Ayat Najafi and Ülo Pikkov. Each director was asked to present some short films or abstracts works, either by them or simply chosen for this occasion, and comment of them with the audience.
The first one on stage was the Italian programmer Teresa Cavina, great expert of international cinema and a Ca’ Foscari alumna herself. During her important career, she has been in charge of the planning and the research, as well as vice-president of the Locarno Festival, co-founder and co-artistic director of the Festa di Roma and planning director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Cavina presented the short movie Condom Lead (2013), by the Palestinian directors Arab e Tarzan Nasser. She chose this short film because, being realized by the two young directors at the age of 25, it perfectly links to the mission of the Short. The title comes from the name of the military mission “Cast Lead” of 2009 in the Gaza Strip, represented here in an ironic approach to the tragedy. “This film shows two aspects: an original intent and an absolute compactness. All the instruments are finalized to the idea that creates it.” The power of the cinema of the Nasser brothers is that of being able to tell the tragedy of loneliness and the sentimental frustration through a black humor made of gestures more than words.
Next, the Iranian director and screenwriter Ayat Najafi got on the stage to talk about his career in theater, with which he maintained a strong bond even when in 2000 he began making his first cinematographic works. He moved to Berlin and won numerous awards with the documentary Football Undercover in 2008, also distributed in Italy. Najafi presented his 2016 short film Nothing has ever happened here, a mockumentary on the devastating effects of a war in Iran which never actually happened. Interested in analyzing a reality that he calls “transformative”, in his documentaries he decided to experiment redefining reality and imagining tragic situations and their consequences. Najafi believes that every artist has his own vision of reality and that they must remain honest with themselves in representing it. The director does not only try to tell his dreams to the public, but he wants to use the power of art to communicate and fight against injustice and for this reason he feels the theme of immigration is very close and central to this year’s International Competition. Najafi concluded his speech on this point: “I do not belong to one country. I am Iranian because my memories are related to Iran, nothing else. We have a responsibility towards the people who come to Europe in search of salvation and we must do everything possible to help them start over”.
The last on stage was Ülo Pikkov, internationally renowned producer, animator and researcher. Since 1996 he has directed several award-winning animation films, focusing mainly on experimental techniques, such as Dialogos (2008), and stop-motion works, such as in Body Memory (2011) and Zebra (2015). He has collaborated with the major animation studios in Northern Europe and is also a producer of numerous documentaries. Pikkov’s ambition is to combine these two genres, and therefore their aesthetics. During the evening, Pikkov presented the short film Letting Go, made in 2017 and inspired by an ancient Japanese tradition of hinamatsuri: a partially improvised, peculiar work, which could be called an “animated therapy”. The second short film presented was Tik-tak, stop-motion animation of 2015. A film about time and its transience, which features a watchmaker monitoring time and a mouse that controls clocks. Pikkov ended his speech by announcing the next project he is working on: a more intimate and personal short film about his mother.
The final day of the ninth edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival began today with the screening of the finalists of the “Olga Brunner Levi” High Schools Competition, organized by the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation. The competition is aimed at high school students from all over the world: the very young directors participated with original short films, centered on the relationship between women and music in history.
The finalist films perfectly the international identity of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival: American is the young and award winning Heidi Kafer, author of Bound, which focuses on a girl’s fight against her eating disorder. And then again Flutura Balaj, from Kosovo, presenting Shtojzovalle, that in a fairy-tale like setting shows the creatures of Albanese mythology and their superpowers, together with their outstanding beauty that leads humans to think of their regrets and missed opportunities. The third finalist is Era Skivjani’s Pa Përkufizim, another short film from Kosovo, revolving around the contemporary theme of prejudice and discrimination embedded in our society. Oblivion by Cagla Karslioglu, from Turkey, that despite the director’s young age, managed to touch the deep topics around the life of a girl who has to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder while working on her university admission test. Lastly, Writing’s on the wall, a music video by Bianca Radulescu, is a parody of the film dynamics of Spectre, thus giving a lighter approach on the topics of secrecy and adventure.
The second special program of the day was presented by Carlo Montanaro, former director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice and founder of La Fabbrica del Vedere. Like every year, Montanaro, also a member of the Festival’s scientific committee, prepared a special program dedicated to early cinema. In this year’s edition, he presented Once upon a time the 3D, focused on the pioneer of three-dimensional animation Ladislas Starewitch. A career that began in a peculiar way, given that Starewitch began to approach cinema as an entomologist, to document the life of insects. Since filming real life creatures was extremely difficult, he began to create realistic puppets, (in French, marionettes), bringing them to the screen for the first time with the stop-motion technique. This resulted in a turning point for the artist, who began making numerous films, both short films and feature films, featuring animals with human virtues and characters in flesh and blood. The Russian director, who moved to France after the revolution, continued to work with the help of his wife and daughters. Starewitch devoted all his life to three-dimensional animation, building puppets through increasingly elaborate sculptures. His experimentation has combined great technical competence with lively innovations. The program documented three stages of his career to highlight as many revolutionary techniques: applied color, sound, realistic color. Among the short films screened, La voix du rossignol (1923) and Fetiche prestidigitateur (1934), together with a series of extracts and inserts particularly representative of the artist’s style.
The last special program of this edition is East Asia Now curated by Stefano Locati. The idea was to give a glimpse on short films produced and realised in East Asia. This year’s selection presented films from four different countries – Japan, China, South Korea and Philippines.
A Fly in the Restaurant by Chinese directors Chen Xi and An Xu is the only short animation film presented. Through the incident of an annoying fly entering a restaurant and the waiter trying to get rid of it, the two directors reinterpret Mao’s quote “The Revolution is not a dinner party”. A Cog in the Wheel by Lee Gyeong (South Korea) is presented as a cross section of the struggle for labour rights in South Korea, through the eyes of a victim and an oppressor among the many. Kitaguchi Yusuke from Japan presents The Man from the Peninsula, story of an encounter only apparently simple between a young Korean and the Japanese language and culture. Judgement by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez tells the story of a woman victim of domestic violence in the Philippines and her judiciary and bureaucratic odyssey to state her rights.
In conclusion of the ninth edition of the Festival, the Closing Ceremony with the prizegiving of all the winners and the live performance Cu(l)t! by Cosimo Miorelli and Giorgio Pacorig.