AMONG THE 30 WORKS IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION, MANY ADDRESS THE STORIES AND THE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS FACED BY MIGRANTS. MANY REINTERPRETATIONS OF GENRE CINEMA. AN ITALIAN SHORT IN COMPETITION
INTERNATIONAL JURY: MIKA JOHNSON, MULTIMEDIA ARTIST; ROBB PRATT, NORTH AMERICAN ANIMATOR; ROBERTO CITRAN, ACTOR
GUESTS OF HONOUR: CELEBRATED ISRAELI DIRECTOR AMOS GITAI, PALME D’OR 2018 WINNER HIROKAZU KORE-EDA PRESENTING HIS NEW BOOK, THE ITALIAN MASTER OF ANIMATION BRUNO BOZZETTO, AND FILM DIRECTOR ROB SAVAGE
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: FOCUS ON THE INDIAN CINEMA SCHOOL WHISTLING WOODS, SPECIALS ON ITALIAN VIDEO ART, EARLY CINEMA AND EAST ASIA, A WORKSHOP ON FEMALE STARDOM IN ITALY AND THE FIRST “ORIGINAL” BY WESHORT
PARALLEL COMPETITIONS: CINIT MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION AND HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITION
The thirteenth edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival will be held from March 22nd to 25th. It is the first festival in Europe to be entirely developed, organized and managed by a university, under the coordination of artistic and organizational director Roberta Novielli. Its thirteenth edition will once again be “widespread” in Venice, starting from the historic Auditorium Santa Margherita.
An eventful edition, it boasts important international guests alongside the main and secondary competitions and special programs. Everything is made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Fondazione di Venezia and thanks to the support of NH Venezia Rio Novo, the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, as well as the Italian “on demand” film platform WeShort, the oldest firm for the production of prosecco Carpenè-Malvolti, Cinit – Cineforum Italiano, the Municipality of Venice – Murano – Burano, the Music Conservatory “Arrigo Pedrollo” of Vicenza and the Giornate della Luce di Spilimbergo, a festival dedicated to the masters of Italian cinematography.
The Short remains a festival made by young people and for young people (this year there are more than two hundred Ca’ Foscari student volunteers). It started at Ca’ Foscari University, and thanks to its ‘widespread’ character, it is increasingly becoming part of the cultural life of the city of Venice, which is also celebrated by Manuele Fior‘s splendid poster, as his first collaboration with the festival. In fact, it will be possible to follow some of the festival’s programs and guests not only at the Santa Margherita Auditorium, but also at five other locations: the Museo d’Arte Orientale – Ca’ Pesaro the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, the Casa del Cinema, the National Archaeological Museum and In Paradiso at the Biennale Gardens, including the multipurpose spaces of the NH Venezia Rio Novo.
The International Competition is the heart of the event, and it is what has led the festival to be considered over the years as a sort of world championship for young cinema, proposing 30 of the best short films made in the last year by university and film school students from all over the world. The young directors depict the concern and drama of our times, so it is no coincidence that this year one of the most recurring themes is that of migrants, showcasing the injustices that force them to leave, the travel difficulties, and the struggle of adapting to the country of arrival. This happens in every sphere as the geographical variety of shorts featuring this theme clearly demonstrates: from Returning South by the Mexican Sofia Ayala, where two youngsters have to carry back their father’s body across the border, to Footprints of Ants by Ümit Güç, which depicts the difficult coexistence between refugees and farmers in Turkey; from the eviction of an Albanian family in Austria in Invisible Border by Mark Siegfried Gerstorfer, to the protagonist couple in Hojat Hosseini’s Bloody Gravel who try to cross the border between Afghanistan and Iran in order to fulfil their love story. However, this theme can also take the form of an animated documentary as in the Chinese Swallow Flying to the South by Mochi Lin, where a mysterious little girl is abandoned in Beijing in the 1970s. There is also no lack of inventive reinterpretations of sub-genre cinema, from the post-apocalyptic Winter Bloom by the Polish Ivan Krupenikov to the musical on the dramatic theme of Korean comfort women in Remember Our Sister by Hayoung Jo. There is only one Italian in the competition, Fly High, an animated short made by Giuseppina Fais, Lorenzo Pappa Monteforte, Kevin Rosso and Yagiz Tunceli for the Experimental Cinematography Center of Piedmont.
The international Jury, called upon to award the competition’s main prizes, will be formed as usual by three main personalities linked to the Film Industry, beginning with Mika Johnson, a multimedia artist specialized in virtual reality, whose latest project, The Infinite Library, is being seen by the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions. Johnson is also a director of documentaries, music videos and fiction. He made his feature debut in 2020 with Confessions of a Box Man, a film inspired by a short story by Abe Kobo that mixes fiction and reality. Whereas, it will be a comeback for Robb Pratt, who was protagonist of a masterclass in the 8th edition of the Festival. He is known for being one of the members of the American animation’s “renaissance” at the beginning of the Nineties, that led him to become the leading animator in Disney, for which he worked both in feature films, from Pocahontas to Hercules and Tarzan, and on highly successful animated series such as Kim Possible. He is also an independent animator with numerous acclaimed adaptations of classic characters, as well as being an Emmy nominee in 2020 for Elena of Avalor. Last but not least, the Italian actor Roberto Citran, who has been a regular presence on the Italian big and small screen since the 1980s. Recently, viewers have seen him at the cinema in Diabolik, Welcome Venice and Il grande giorno, but he’s also a film director, writer, and stage actor. As for being nominated twice for the David di Donatello, he won Coppa Volpi at the Film Festival in Venice as the best non-protagonist actor for Carlo Mazzacurati’s Il toro. Furthermore, the three of them will also be protagonists of the Special Jury Program, where they will meet the public and present their short films and extracts from films they’ve directed or starred in.
There are numerous prizes that the jury will be called upon to award to the short films in the International Competition. In addition to the first prize, there will also be the special mention “Museo Nazionale del Cinema” for the film that offers the best tribute to cinema as an art, and the special mention “WeShort” for the one that offers the best experimentation in cinematic language. Instead, the technical juries will award the special mention “Conservatorio di Vicenza” for the best soundtrack (jury: Davide Tiso, Lorenzo Pagliei, Pierangelo Valtinoni, Pietro Tonolo, Elisabetta Andreani), the special mention “Le Giornate della Luce” for the best photography (jury: Silvia Moras, Donato Guerra, Luca Pacilio), the “Storie di Vitae” Carpenè-Malvolti special mention for best screenplay (jury: Domenico Scimone, Eduardo Fernando Varela, Roberto Tiraboschi, Alessandro Loprieno) and the Pateh Sabally prize, which is awarded by the Municipality of Venice for multi-ethnicity. The awards will be glass sculptures offered by Promovetro and, for the winner, there will also be a work of art in glass of the artist Cosima Montavoci, protagonist of the project Mollified together with Lorenzo Passi.
In the long series of special programs, tributes, focuses and retrospectives that will enrich like always the experience of the Short, some important guests also stand out this year, starting with Amos Gitai, one of the most important Israeli directors of the last half century that, after his debut in the full-length fiction film in 1986 with Esther, winner of the Festival of Torino, has presented films like Berlin-Jerusalem (1989), Kadosh (1999), Kippur (2000), Promised Land (2004) e Ana Arabia (2013) in the most prestigious festivals of the world, from Cannes to Venice, depicting—as exiled as well as resident—the conflicting love for his homeland, almost always at the center of his works. He is also author of numerous documentaries and shorts, he will be the protagonist of one tribute to the Short, during which he will converse with the professor and film critic John Bleasdale, showing selected excerpts of his works. Another big guest of this edition is one of the masters of contemporary Japanese cinema, Hirokazu Kore-eda. The director, winner of a Palme d’Or in 2018 with Shoplifters, will be at the festival to present to the Italian public his Pensieri dal set (Cue Press), an artistic autobiography that is at the same time an important theoretical text. With his minimalist and almost naturalistic style, he has documented over the years the changes taking place in the contemporary Japanese family, starting with Maborosi (1995), presented in Venice, passing by masterpieces such as Nobody knows (2004), Still Walking (2008), Like Father, Like Son (2013), and the last Broker (2022), in competition at Cannes. The release of his book in Italy offers the possibility to converse with the director about his vision of Japanese cinema and society, thanks to editor of the Italian edition Francesco Vitucci.
Bruno Bozzetto will certainly receive a special welcome. He’s one of the fathers of Italian animation, known for being a creator of characters that have entered the collective imagination of our country such as Mr. Rossi, the “average Italian” par excellence, and director of animation classics such as West and Soda (1965), Vip mio fratello Superuomo (1968) and Allegro non troppo (1976). By being ironic and unconventional, with his simple and direct style he was able to deal with universal themes in an original way, as he demonstrated when he won the Golden Bear in Berlin with Mr. Tao (1988) for the best short film and the Oscar nomination for Cavallette (1990). He is also an author of live cinema (his 1987 feature film Under the Chinese restaurant), of illustrated books and advertisements (his adverts that are featured in “Carosello” are unforgettable). Bozzetto will retrace his long career in a masterclass, curated by Davide Giurlando, where clips of some of his most famous works will be shown. Afterwards there will be a space dedicated to young cinema with Rob Savage, one of the most promising genre directors of the new generation. Winner of the Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2013 and pupil of the Berlinale’s Talent Campus, he is known for short films that revisit work traditional horror movies in an innovative way, such as Dawn of the Deaf (2017), which was presented at Sundance and in many other festivals. He has directed numerous short films, commercials and horror series, worked for the major British television series, such as Britannia, and directed the pilot episode of Soulmates. At just thirty years old, he has already produced three feature films, including the recent Host (2020) and Dashcam (2021). This last particular film is an original horror that brings the found footage sub-genre to the era of social media. At the Short he will discuss some excerpts from these works and will be interviewed by John Bleasdale on stage.
An appointment not to be missed is the one with Manuele Fior, the author of this year’s poster, who will be talking live on the stage of the Auditorium with the animation and comics’ expert Davide Giurlando, who will give an insight into his creative process and the techniques he uses to create his works, such as the famous Celestia, which is set in a post-apocalyptic Venice. With his unmistakable style, he is one of the most popular cartoonists in Italy and abroad. He is so reknown that he boasts international collaborations with The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Le Monde. He won one of the most important comic book awards in 2011, the Fauve d’Or for Best Album at the Angoulême Festival for Cinquemila chilometri al secondo. His works in Italy are published by Cononino press and Oblomov editions and include the following works: Le variazioni d’Orsay (2015), I giorni della merla (2016) and the most recent Hypericon (2022).
From Venice, we will then fly to the other side of the world for two special programs focused on Asia. The first one, curated by Cecilia Cossio, will be dedicated to the most prestigious film school of the region, Mumbai’s Whistling Woods International, ranked by the Hollywood Reporter among the ten most important film schools in the world, and a recurring presence in the Short’s competition. Representing the superior quality of the works produced by the WWI, three graduation short films will be screened, films that participated in numerous national and international festivals and received various awards: Kathakaar (The storyteller, 2016) by Abhimanyu Kanodia, 500 rupees (2017) by Shashwat Gandhi and The Nightingale (2019) by Shiva Katyal. The second program dedicated to Asia is East Asia Now, in which the curator Stefano Locati will take the audience to the discovery of the latest trends from East Asia with three short films reflecting on the theme of crisis from a female perspective, with an attitude that flirts with the extraordinary, from surrealism to magic realism, coming from Singapore: Aunt Lotus & Her Dream Bicycle by Kew Lin, South Korea, The Sea on the Day When the Magic Returns by Han Jiwon, and Japan with Bird Woman by Oohara Tokio.
The great international guests are complemented by a series of recurring special programs that have characterized the Short for years and that are a fundamental part of its identity, from the usual focus on the cinema of the origins, curated by Carlo Montanaro, who this year will take the audience on a magic journey, making them to discover one of the most ancient ways to narrate through images: the silhouette in the program L’ombra prende vita (The Shadow Comes To Life). The annual acknowledgment of the current state of Italian videoart couldn’t go unmentioned, a program curated by Elisabetta Di Sopra with the collaboration of the videoart Archive Yearbook, as well as the spaces dedicated to the Pasinetti Video Competition and the Venice International University Summer School. Whilst the screening of the short films made by the students of the Ca’ Foscari Master in Fine Arts in Filmmaking will act as a pre-opening of the Festival, as well as in the graduation ceremony. Finally, Cronostar. Stardom e senility, a workshop hosted by Francesco Pitassio that will focused on the theme of female stardom in Italian cinema, which entwines words and images, while in WeShort Originals & Branded Shorts, Alessandro Loprieno, CEO of WeShort, the all-italian on demand short film platform, will present his first original production, Caramelle by Matteo Panebarco – awarded as the best short film at the Rome Cinema Fest – and two episodes of the series Guinness World Records Shorts.
Furthermore, the two collateral competitions that have been running alongside the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival for years will also make a come. The first one is the 7th CINIT Music Video Competition, which will introduce the best nine music videos made by students coming from eight different countries who attend Film Universities or Film Academies. Giovanni Bedeschi, Alice D’Este and Giordano Giordani will evaluate their work. The second contest is the 10th High School Competition, in which high school students from all over the world will participate. Seven finalists will compete for the Prize. The committee will be formed by Ca’ Foscari students, who will award the best one. The collaboration between Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival and Le giornate della luce Festival had been reconfirmed. For this latter, the Short chose eight short films which will be shown at a specific contest in Spilimbergo.
In conclusion, the opening of the festival, launched by Manuele Fior’s poster dedicated to Venice, which also pre-announced the festival, will conclude in a symbolic way, with a priceless exhibition in the final soirée. During this event, the Venetian Giovanni Dell’Olivo, a songwriter and versatile musician, will play his flamenco guitar and perform together with Alvise Seggi (cello) and Serena Catullo (voice). They will sing some melodies in Venetian, whilst some pictures from films set in the Venetian Lagoon will be shown.