Mujeres in the Cinema is a group originally born on Facebook in October 2019, whose aim was to connect Italian women working in the cinema environment that could also collaborate in new projects. The initiative quickly reached more than 10,000 memberships among directors, workers and scholars. Our festival wants to pay a sort of tribute to this important reality and has selected 24 short movies that were created with the collaboration of all the participants, divided into various sections: fiction, actresses / performers, music videos, experimental, documentaries and web series. Viewers will thus be able to discover an extremely lively and artistically rapidly evolving world that will help to understand the richness of the film heritage of women in our country.
The Mujeres program will not only be about films but also about bodies: bodies of women, directors, actresses and performers with different paths behind them, different biographies, different works. Four names for this eleventh edition and four stories: those of Fulvia Patrizia Olivieri, Piera Saladino, Anna Sozzani and Lilith Primavera.
Actress with a long experience, Fulvia Patrizia Olivieri trained at Fonderia delle Arti and Accademia di alta formazione Professione Artista and for many years she has been working in cinema, TV and theater, developing a mature and eclectic interpretative ability, as you will see from the showreel presented in this program. The same goes for Piera Saladino, a younger actress, but equally determined, original, profound and delicate, who grew up professionally between Paris and Rome, between cinema and theater. By Anna Sozzani, an Italian-Russian actress who graduated as an interpreter-translator, we will instead show the short Single, which she herself shot under the pseudonym Anna Sesia and has already been awarded several times. Finally, Lilith Primavera with director Cristina Ducci presents Goodbye my lover, the first of three video clips that together will form a musical short film.
Multiform talents who weave their lives at the intersection of different streets and cities, these women return a complex look on an ongoing path that, unraveling itself in different knots, defines a specific way of making cinema and being in the world of cinema: feminine, one could say, but it would certainly be a reduction to the minimum terms of such rich and articulated works and biographies.
FULVIA PATRIZIA OLIVIERI
Fulvia Patrizia Olivieri, born in Milan but adopted by Rome, trained at Fonderia delle Arti and Accademia di alta formazione Professione Artista. She has been working in cinema, TV and theater for many years and in 2020 she has won the Vincenzo Crocitti Award as a career actress. Her latest work, directed by Caterina Fattori, is the short film La Macchia in which she co-stars with Lorenzo Fantastichini.
Piera Saladino was born in Naples under the sign of the Aquarium. At the age of twenty she moved to Paris where she attended the Ecole Internationale de Theater. When she returned to Italy, she graduated from the Beatrice Bracco Accademia in Rome and worked alongside several directors for the theater and cinema. Determined, original, at the same time endowed with a deep and delicate fragility, she loves to interpret characters full of contradictions that somehow unite her to her Naples.
Born in Milan to a Milanese father and a Russian mother, she grows up, lives and works in Rome, New York, Paris, Moscow and Berlin. She is a quadrilingual actress, with a degree as interpreter-translator, she has worked in the theater in the company of Vasilev in Moscow and in Italy with Antonio Latella, Massimo Castri, Giorgio Albertazzi, Giancarlo Nanni. At cinema she has worked, among others, with Aline Issermann, Liliana Cavani, Margarethe von Trotta. Winner of several awards as an actress, Single is her first short film as author, which has already won multiple awards.
Actress, singer, writer, author, and many other things, but basically a human being in difficulty with bio and pigeonholing in general. She was born in Rome, grew up metropolitan, explored Europe, met people from all over the world, cultivated underground and niche culture, punk and pop. She loves her dog Ernesto and loves discovering nature with him.
Mujeres: Music Videos
The section dedicated to Music Videos presents two titles that explore the dimensions of the subconscious in a different way.
Lithuanian director Margarita Bareikytė signs OCD, a video clip of the homonymous single from the band The Mother. Andrea Palombi’s masterful interpretation, combined with the sharp shots, conveys the sense of constant obsession that a person with OCD experiences every day. The choice of black and white also contributes to the creation of an atmosphere of tension and disturbance.
Francesca Noto from Agrigento is the director of the music video Balene part one (ocean) by the Italian composer Filippo Cornaglia. A dreamlike atmosphere pervades the entire clip, in which black waters outline the portrait of a violated and oppressed nature. The short refers to the Dadaist and Surrealist cinema, thanks to a careful editing, which adapts perfectly to the musical base.
Margarita Bareikytė (Lithuania/Italy) – theatre/film director, actress, composer, visual art project manager, lecturer. Margarita has staged many theatre productions and musicals in Lithuania and abroad, worked as a lecturer with students of Musical Theatre. As a filmmaker, Margarita directed short movies and commercials; her movies have been selected by important film festivals, she received nominations and won prizes all around the world. Margarita is the winner of the “Pigneto Film Festival 2020” for the Best Short Movie “Tran Tran”, which was later presented during “Festa del Cinema di Roma” festival.
Francesca Noto is an actress, director, and digital editor born in Agrigento in 1993. Francesca attended theater academies, screenwriting and directing in Rome, actively contributing to numerous plays both as interpreter and author including the shows “Libertà” and “Volare” in the Pagine Aperte Festival. She writes and directs the video clip of “Sogno l’amore” by Andrea Lazlo De Simone and she graduates in Rome in Direction at the Laboratorio di Alta Formazione “Officina Pier Paolo Pasolini” in the Multimedia section.
The four short films in the program have four female characters as protagonists; they are trying to get hold of their lives by re-tracing their existential injuries. In A Thousand Shields by Serena Corvaglia a couple of outlaws with a newborn baby are running away from the governor’s guards. The woman finds herself at the mercy of her violent partner, in a limbo between a dreamed freedom and the life of a thief. It will be her maternal instinct to indicate her choice. Donatella Gottardi’s short film Mind the gap outlines the figure of a shattered woman and is based on a true story. The announcement at the train station with the voice of her deceased husband is a daily refuge for the woman, one of the places where she can still hear the voice of her beloved. One day his announcement is replaced by the voice of a computer, and this tears apart the new dimension in which she had taken refuge. We can also find some common traits also in Sara, the second protagonist and central character of From the end, a beginning by Roberta De Santis. While going through one of the hardest moment of her life, the young woman is taking care of an old man suffering from Alzheimer who is in a nursing home; they keep each other company, they confide in each other while they are simultaneously experiencing the most difficult moment of their existence. In truth, it is the man who takes care of the young woman, just as a skilled master would do to lead you out of the tunnel of despair. A silent help perhaps, but as powerful as ever. Overcoming a difficult period is the task that Meri, the teenage protagonist of Chiara Troisi’s short film The Force, must also accomplish. The girl is experiencing a very delicate period in her life, caught between a known past and an unknown future. Her tarot cards anchor her to a painful past that is nevertheless difficult to overcome, and the memory of her mother becomes a nightmare that blocks her. The Force card, which suggests the moment when you need to make a choice, will force her to choose the path she has to take.
She graduates in Literature and Philosophy with a specialisation in Cinema, then lives and works as assistant director in the indie scene in Berlin and New York. She starts her career directing international advertising. Meanwhile, she works on the documentary “Thus Spoke De Crescenzo” now on Amazon Prime. She produces and directs “Mille Scudi” a history drama based on a true story.
Donatella Gottardi is an Italian filmmaker born in Bolzano, Northern Italy. She has always cultivated the passion for acting since growing up, from 2016 she’s attended several Masterclasses in diction and dubbing, acting, directing and filmmaking. She has been part of noir fictions, documentaries and short films, one of which was selected for the David of Donatello in 2019.
ROBERTA DE SANTIS
Roberta De Santis is an award winner actress and filmmaker. She grew up in Bari, Apulia Italy and she graduated at the Rome Film Academy. In 2018 she moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Chiara Troisi is a filmmaker and illustrator born in Asti. After graduating in Set Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin, she attended Scuola Holden, specializing in directing and screenwriting. In 2019 she wrote, illustrated and directed an animated short movie in virtual reality “MONO” (currently in production), which got selected to participate at the Biennale College Cinema VR for the Biennale of Venice. “La Forza” is her first short film.
Experimental cinema and video art have always been languages with a large and significant female presence. In this section, there are many short films where actresses, film directors, screenwriters and performers tell stories through the movement of bodies, both human and animal ones. Women stand out in this particular type of audiovisual language, which is devoid of the typical economic and censorship constraints of the film industry and capable of providing them with greater freedom of expression and representation. It is in fact in the independent and experimental circuit, in the porous places of the encounter with the spaces and practices of art, that women have managed to move the boundaries of self-representation and to build an active laboratory where they can experiment and gain experience. Reversing the relationship between the center and the outskirts, and inhabiting marginal spaces, the artists presented here subvert the established canons of tradition through the intersection and experimentation of new and multiple languages.
With the help of the audiovisual and its own plasmability, these artists explore burning current themes and open new glimpses on the nuanced and fragmented female identity. Karin De Ponti, actress of cinema, fiction and theatre, in her work of visual poetry, “Flow, you can make a difference” (2020), written by Ida Casilli, creates a monologue that a young woman addresses to her future self. The letter highlights the difficulties and injustices that, as a woman, she is forced to face in a male-dominated and patriarchal society. The work ends with an invitation to enjoy the present by adopting a flexible attitude and relieving oneself of the weight of worries for the future. In “2020 – Milano Lockdown Manifesto” (2020), the actress and director Silvia Bertocchi fabricates a journey of dark and dreamlike colors inside an unusual Milan, deserted and barren. The only sounds to intersperse the frustrated and desperate cry are those of the trams and ambulances that populate the new and alienating reality. Bertocchi performs against the background of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, wearing dark clothes, gloves and a gas mask. The work tells the story of the paranoia and climate of uncertainty that shaped the human condition during the coronavirus emergency. Patrizia Bernardini, a theatrical actress, in “Una Nessuna Tutte” (2019), her first film as the director, denounces gender inequality and domestic violence. The work was a collaboration with the Association “Scostumatoteatro” and the Municipality of Marino to honor the International Day against violence against women. The film is a telephone call between two friends, who face the difficulties of being a woman and discuss the small and large discrimination they face on a daily basis, culminating in a painful confession of the protagonist on her marriage. The singer and actress from Messina, Cecilia Foti, celebrates the famous italian film star Monica Vitti in her latest work, “Scandali Segreti. Tribute to Monica Vitti” (2020). The short video, edited by Antonio Previti and Gaetano Mazza, aims to emphasize the close link between the actress and the Sicilian city, in which she spent part of her childhood. The history and career of Monica Vitti intertwine with the urban fabric of Messina, redesigning its geography. The short film, whose theatrical text was written by Michelangelo Antonioni, is also a tribute to women’s freedom and offers the audience an extremely current protagonist who differs from stereotypes.
This next short film’s theme is “bodies in revolution, but also bodies in evolution”. “Il Circo dei Fellini” (2020) by Rossella Bergo, initially an actress and subsequently, in 2015, a director, depicts a story in which the taboo of motherhood is broken, with an experimental cinematic language that takes a natural act and puts it under a comical light. In the music video “Syren” (2020), directed by Lara Genovese, Italian set designer and director who worked for Walt Disney and Universal Studios, and played by Costanza Savarese, performer and concert performer internationally, the body becomes a mythological creature, taking on the appearance of a mermaid who, taken from the abyss by a jailer who wants to put her on display in a weirdly personal and morbid manner, struggles to regain her true nature and return to the deep sea. A dancing body is instead the main subject of “Reveriè” (2020), a video art piece directed by Antonietta Dicorato, videomaker and artist who mixes digital and analog languages in research on visual and sound experimentation. The video narration “HERSTORIES” (2021) is a collection of photographs from all over the world that tell stories of women in the past, in the present and towards the future, to create an intertwined, all-female story: the story of one is the story of all. Created by Cristina Nist, a multidisciplinary Roman artist and art historian, “HERSTORIES” is an ongoing project that wishes to trace a path of female narratives from every corner of the world, and establish a dialogue with the spectators, making them actresses of their own stories. The beauty of a city, the waiting, the journey, the arrival, are told by Pina Vergara, an artist who aims to tell and create art in all of its forms with her “Theatrical & Audiovisual Empathygogy”. In her short film “The Sounds of City” (2021), she narrates the beauty of the city of Pesaro with its melodies through its eyes and its rain scented sensations. The bodies are birds that fly in search of freedom in “Waterandbirds” (2021), a video art about nature by Lisa Nava, an Italian director who also works in theatre and one of the founders of Directors Lab Mediterranean.
The artists who partake in this section have succeeded in restoring profiles of complex and stratified women through a feminine point of view, far from the typical standard of the patriarchy. Making use of a rich and varied repertoire of languages, they reappropriate their gaze, their voice and their body, which transforms from a simple passive object into an active subject within their works. They are women who, through their work, subvert the norm and place urgent questions of the contemporary world at the centre of their art.
Three documentaries, all female, face similar but at the same time different themes, through various techniques and styles. Chiara Tripaldi presents Controra in which some people from Taranto are interviewed about their city, their habits and their culture. It deals with religion through a dialectal poem written by Diego Marturano, a poet from Taranto, which, read as a pray, associates the bells sound to the voice of God, moved by the desire to hope and believe in something. Then, it moves to another topic which is the exploitation of workers in South Italy, who are obliged to produce steel usually used only in the North and at the same time compelled to close down schools in case of a strong wind, because of air pollution. The voice of the men interviewed is scratchy and his gloomy tone is emphasized by the quivering handy camera. It points the finger at the government that lets this destruction go on. It faces another theme dear to Italian people, football, referring to the future of Taranto team in the hands of the player Erasmo Iacovone. In this case she doesn’t want to talk about football in general but to highlight the misfortune, which symbolizes a longed-for redemption due to his death in the most glorious period of his career.
On the contrary Gaia Russo Frattasi from Turin offers scene filmed from above, accompanied by a great attention to details, like bees on a flower, in a lonely and silent place, filled only by the sound of motorbikes, helicopters and frying meat. In Between is the third episode of Leggere dove non si legge, a journey in ten steps dedicated to the novel Sangue e Latte (El Doctor Sax edition) by Eugenio di Donato. The director tells about streets, landscapes, houses destroyed by earthquakes, bridges, snakes and cattle, coffee shops and fountains. Leggere dove non si legge puts the book where you don’t expect to find it, where we are not accustomed to think about it. She thinks that the best place for books is in the reader hands, in any reader hands, and that the act of reading is closer to people than we are expecting.
Finally Luciana Manca creates a particular composition made up of a live show, a sung documentary, extracted from a musical and theatrical performance, and from day labourers news stories. The Schigghiate sings about the Earth in the South, tells about day labourers killed by the police. It is a story about exploitation, migration, abuses of power by the security forces and riots, through the depositions of people defying mafia and slavery. It mentions Nardò insurrection in 2011, the first strike of immigrants workers in Italy, which led to the condemnation of eleven people charged of workers exploitation. Ivan Sagnet, one of the rioters, declared, urging them to keep fighting: “It’s no more a slavery period. Tell them you want to have a real contract, like every worker in the world, and a salary according to your performance. Starting from now, the old system is done.”.
CHIARA TRIPALDI: she trained first in theater acting, then in dramaturgy and finally in writing for cinema. In 2020 she studied at the New York Film Academy documentary filmmaking and there she wrote and directed her first short documentary set in New York City. She currently lives in Rome where she works as a story editor and as an author and director for films, documentaries and TV. He is in production with his first feature-length documentary, Controra, set in Taranto, a project that won the “Meditalents” writing residency, created by an association of French producers to promote young talents of Mediterranean cinema.
GAIA RUSSO FRATTASI: Her last Feature Doc, School in the Middle of The Sea, is out in italian cinemas in 2019, qualified as Interesse Culturale and Film d’Essai at italian Mibact, it won Piemonte Movie Distribution Price, it premiered at Visioni Italiane and opened the Salina Doc Fest, then it was selected for Doc in Tour. Gaia started her career as an actress with Accademia degli Artefatti and Faber Teater. She graduates in Theatre History at Turin University, then she joined IpotesiCinema School by M. Ermanno Olmi (Cineteca of Bologna). In 2009 she founds Moby Film, focused on documentaries and short films.
LUCIANA MANCA: Singer and video-maker, passionate about traditional oral music. she’s attending now a PHD in ethnomusicology (Roma Tor Vergata University), about transnational choirs and the soundscape of Borgo Mezzanone (FO), an italian ghetto inhabited by West African farm workers. Her videos broaden her music performances, based on oral history, trough a “new format” which combines music and social documentation: the singing documentary.
In recent years, in addition to the films released in cinemas and the increasingly popular series on platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus, the self-produced web series have also been increasing. These are short episodes made to be uploaded on the web, on channels such as YouTube. Numerous web series also have an interactive purpose, being uploaded on online forums or directly on the producer’s page, who very often plays the role of one of the main characters of the various episodes, thus allowing viewers to post comments or save the various video clips as their favorites. This is certainly one of the reasons for the growing success of the many series, as the followers feel much closer to the creators of the episodes. Most producers use social media to promote their work, and this facilitates the rapid diffusion and popularity of web series. Many are those who have gained popularity thanks to web series any faces have become known thanks to the series, such as the duo de Le Coliche, Camihawke, who increased their popularity by posting videos on Facebook or the Jackals.
IL DISAGIO DI VIVERE CON UN’ATTRICE
In this first episode, the basis of this brand new web series is outlined; the two protagonists are both friends and roommates, and one of them dreams of becoming a famous actress; in truth, she feels one step away from Hollywood! The series is very funny and ironic right from the beginning, with two girls we manage to identify ourselves with, even if only a little. Six minutes spent laughing lightly with the protagonists.
GIADA CARUSO: Italian actress with an international background.
In Prato, she studied musical theater, one of her acting specialties. She is admitted to the Rome Film Academy at Cinecittà. She attends international acting workshops, including a character training course in Berlin with acting teacher Lena Lessing and one on Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice with pedagogue Paolo Antonio Simioni. In 2017 she moved to California and managed to graduate from the New York Film Academy. Giada is also passionate about screenwriting and directing: she is the author of short scripts, from comedy to drama, which she directs herself; she also she combines her theatrical and video acting with voiceover and dubbing for television and cinema.