CA’ FOSCARI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 10
THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION FEATURES 30 WORKS FROM 27 COUNTRIES, TWO OF WHICH ARE ITALIAN , WHICH ARE GOING TO COMPETE ALSO AGAINST AN ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE
ALL-FEMALE JURY: JAPANESE-ITALIAN ACTRESS JUN ICHIKAWA, SYRIAN ANIMATOR SULAFA HIJAZI AND POLISH ACTRESS MARIA MAMONA
SPECIAL GUESTS: THE “MASTER OF THE THRILL” DARIO ARGENTO, WHO IS GOING TO BE AWARDED THE CA’ FOSCARI HONORARY FELLOWSHIP, AND PINO DONAGGIO, MEMORABLE BRIAN DE PALMA’S FILM COMPOSER
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: A TRIBUTE TO THE EXPERIMENTAL DIRECTOR AMIT DUTTA, THE RETURN TO THE SHORT OF THE DOCUMENTARTIST MARIE ELISA SHEIDT, A FOCUS ON NEW AFRICAN CINEMA AND YOUNG DIRECTORS OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA, A TRIBUTE TO THE FRENCH SUPINFOCOM RUBIKA SCHOOL OF ANIMATION
MOREOVER: THE YOUNG FILMMAKERS OF CA’ FOSCARI AND THE VENICE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY. AS ALWAYS, THE APPOINTMENT WITH THE CINEMA OF ORIGINS, ITALIAN VIDEOART AND THE PASINETTI VIDEO COMPETITION. A CLOSING SHOW IN TRIBUTE TO FELLINI BETWEEN VIDEO MAPPING AND HOLOGRAMS.
SIDE COMPETITIONS: MUSIC VIDEO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION & “OLGA BRUNNER LEVI” AWARD
The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival is ready to celebrate its 10th edition, which takes place from the 7th to the 10th of October in a “widespread” way. In compliance with the current health regulations, along with the location at Auditorium Santa Margherita (where online booking will be required via Eventbrite platform), the festival will collaborate with other historic cultural institutions of Venice to take the festival throughout the city, also ensuring the streaming of some of the programs: Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi, the Centro Candiani of the Municipality of Venice, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ D’Oro, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Concilio Europeo dell’Arte In Paradiso Art Gallery and the Hotel NH Venezia Rio Novo.
This anniversary’s edition presents itself richer than ever, with a lot of illustrious guests involved in the different special programs and a high-level selection of the 30 short movies from the International Competition, focused on students from cinema schools and university from all over the world. Organized with the collaboration of Fondazione di Venezia and support from Fondazione Levi and Hotel NH Venezia Rio Novo, the festival is the first in Europe to be entirely conceived, organized and managed by a university. This year more than ever, supervised by artistic and managing director Roberta Novielli, the festival will be true to its mission, proving to be an event imagined by young people for young people.
The International Competition remains the beating heart of the event, with over 3.000 short films submitted from 111 countries, proving to be a special observatory for cinema made by new generations. The competing films are from 27 different countries from every continent and are thus very miscellaneous, combining different techniques, styles and genres in all new ways, applied to fiction, documentary, animation and video art. A common theme that links many of the submitted films is detachment, from the least immediate and most metaphorical like the relationship between student and teacher, or between someone and their hometown, to the most painful between parents and their children.
The latter is the theme of Czech director Daria Kashcheeva’s Daughter, Academy Award nominee for best animated short in 2020. The director, who graduated from Prague’s cinema school FAMU, adopts a lively and vivid style, filled with handheld camera shots, close-ups and sudden focus changes, bringing her characters to life to dig into the realm of memory and the relationship between a troubled young girl and her dying father. Equally stunning is Terre Ferme, by French director Ivän James Hayward, who studied at the Cinécréatis in Nantes. Set in the 1950s, his short film is about a boy who dreams of running away from the peasant reality where he lives after meeting an adventurous plane pilot. With her Bitter Herb, Polish Maria Ornaf depicts a coming-of-age story, with violence inside and outside the main character’s apparently peaceful four walls. Charlie Manton is the English director of November 1st, winner of the illustrious Student Academy Award, that follows a mother and her heartbreaking journey to witness the execution of her son’s murderer. There are two competing Italian short films, both by young female directors: Giulia Di Battista, a student at the CSC, presents Domani all’alba, a story set during World War II in a small town in the hinterland of the Marche region; Francesca Giuffrida is the author of Mentre dormi, about the virtual life of a cello player who is in a coma and the real struggle of his wife, who takes care of him every day. The competition features two more animated short films and three documentaries.
The 30 competing short films will be judged by an all-female international jury, composed of three famous professionals: Japanese-Italian actress Jun Ichikawa, who has appeared in many renowned TV series and movies such as Singing Behind Screens by Ermanno Olmi, Mother of Tears by Dario Argento and Alessandro Siani’s latest movie Il giorno più bello del mondo; Sulafa Hijazi, Syrian director now living in Berlin, who experiments with conceptual and multimedia art, and whose work in animation is very well known in the Arab world; Polish actress Maria Mamona, who has worked with some of the most famous Polish directors throughout her career and is thus one of the most well-respected performers of her country. The jurists will also take part in the Special Jury Program, during which they will meet the audience and present the short films they directed or starred in.
Along with the International Competition, the festival will feature a wide range of special programs, events, retrospectives and masterclasses with international guests. First among these is the “Master of the Thrill” Dario Argento who, on the occasion of his receiving the Ca’ Foscari Honorary Fellowship awarded by the university of Venice, will hold a must-see lectio magistralis from the Auditorium’s stage. With masterpieces such as Deep Red and Suspiria, Argento is one of the most influential Italian directors of the last fifty years, inspiring filmmakers from all over the world with his fresh and iconoclastic approach to the thriller and horror genres.
Also among the special guests is Italian film composer and singer-songwriter Pino Donaggio, who will review his career during a long meeting with the audience moderated by journalist and essayist Anton Giulio Mancino. A prolific artist, he has composed over 70 film scores since the 1970s, starting with Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973), and has a longstanding partnership with Brian De Palma, with whom he has worked on seven soundtracks for classics such as Dressed to Kill and Body Double. His music has accompanied images from movies by some of the greatest directors in Italian cinema such as Dario Argento, Liliana Cavani and Pupi Avati.
Lorenzo Mattotti is the artist behind the poster of this tenth’s edition. After Igort and Giorgio Carpinteri, the festival continues its collaboration with the best Italian illustrators and comic book artists of today, choosing Mattotti’s creativity for a work that sums up some of the festival’s cornerstones as explained by the artist himself: “The ‘look at the camera’, the globe in the sign of the festival’s international nature, the writing as the future in the making of the young attending directors. Directors are like alchemists who write their vision of the world”. Mattotti will be among the guests, attending a special program dedicated to him, during which he will talk about his work, reviewing his forty-year career and sharing some of the secrets behind his art. The artist will also take the stage at the Auditorium for the pre-inaugural screening of The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, his first movie as director.
The festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with another welcome return: Marie Elisa Scheidt, who won the International Competition’s first edition in 2011 with her I Love You, I Love You Not and who has since become a respected documentarist in Germany. The director will present some of her works made throughout her ten-year career launched by the Short, including the work of a photographer about Montreal’s “bear” community in Through The Lens Of InkedKenny (2012), her reflection on language in Holy F#&% (2013) and the disturbing and fascinating portrait of a criminal in the Vienna of the ‘60s in Sobota (2014).
The Munchies, the legendary series with animated puppets produced and directed by Charlie Tango, together with his brother Miki and Giampietro Cutrino, debuted in 2003 on the Italian TV channel Italia 1 and was later broadcast on MTV. The success of the prank calls made by the characters created by Tango has led to a second season in 2010, as well as a spin-off and several collaborations on TV. Now, ten years from their debut, the Munchies will make their comeback with new hilarious episodes and, to celebrate, Charlie Tango will present a preview of the pilot episode Doppia Canna (lit. Double Barrel), which will be then streamed on dedicated websites with the rest of the season.
French animation school Supinfocom Rubika, which was founded in 1988 in Valenciennes and later opened four other locations in as many countries, won the award as best cinema school in the world in 2007. Its students not only create works awarded in festivals around the world, but also have a very high employment rate with a resume focused on digital animation (but also videogames and design) that has no equal. The eight selected works, produced in the last three years, are the result of a collaborative effort, with several students who followed the development in turns, exploring different genres and techniques, from the post-apocalyptic landscape in Mine de plomb to the Chinese adventure in search for tea in Gunpowder.
Over the years, the Short has built a privileged relationship with India, the biggest movie industry in the world, yet still greatly overlooked by European circuits, bringing new films and filmmakers to Venice. This year’s program is no exception, dedicated to one of the most important experimental Indian documentarists, Amit Dutta. After graduating from the cinema school in Pune, he became well-known in 2010 with Nainsukh, where he began his research combining experimentation and films on art, carried out in Saatvin sair (2013) and Gita Govinda (2014). The program, curated by Cecilia Cossio, features three short films that represent the non-narrative, almost philosophical quality of his filmography, which includes Jangarh: Film One (2008), The Museum of Imagination (2012) e Chitrashala (2015).
Despite the increase of film schools and students in recent years, another cinema, or rather cinemas, that are often overlooked are those from Africa. New African Cinema is a special program that aims to narrow the gap, screening three short films produced in as many countries: Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya. These works’ themes range from tradition to modernity but they all share strong independent female protagonists, as can be seen in Karanja Ng’endo’s Naisula – Misfit, a story about freedom and rebellion that embodies the vitality of African cinema.
Curated by Stefano Locati, the East Asia Now program has a similar goal, aiming to chart some of the most interesting trends in East Asian cinema. After exploring Far East countries in last year’s edition, this year the journey will take the audience to South-East Asia, with four short films from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, all cinemas that are maybe not as widespread as those from neighbouring countries, but that are nonetheless filled with stories to be told, as proven by Pham Thien An’s Stay Awake, Be Ready, Kris Ong’s Sunday, Sreylin Meas’s California Dreaming and Sorayos Prapapan’s The Dossier of the Dossier.
Nevertheless, the Short not only looks forward but also values the past, arranging a yearly tribute to early cinema curated by Carlo Montanaro. This year, the program is inspired by Montanaro’s book Dall’argento al pixel (lit. From silver to pixel), recently reprinted in an illustrated edition, and will review the artistic and narrative history of cinema in relation to its technological development through a series of clips from movies set in Venice, from the early twentieth century to the present day. Another recurring event is Lo Sguardo Sospeso (lit. The Suspended Gaze), a window into the most recent Italian videoart curated by Elisabetta Di Sopra that will feature ten videos produced between 2006 and 2013, selected in collaboration with Silvia Grandi, one of the curators of Videoart Yearbook’s archive, which includes the aforementioned works. The selection stands out for its strong feminine quality, with filmmakers such as Virginia Mori, Giovanna Ricotta and Rita Casdia, but also includes a work by street artist BLU.
The bond between the Short and the Venetian soil has always been very strong and this year, after the hard times marked by last November’s extraordinary flooding, the festival wants to rally around the city even more. For this reason, three programs are tied to Venice in different ways. The first program is dedicated to all the students of Ca’ Foscari’s master’s degree in Fine Arts in Filmmaking, who throughout the academic year have created various works, including fiction short films, music videos and commercials. For the occasion, Veneto Film Commission’s CEO Jacopo Chessa will also attend. The second project is linked to Venice International University, that since last year has set up a summer school with the aim to combine film theory and practice, applying them to represent Venice through a multidisciplinary approach. During the event, the short films directed by the students of Films in Venice and Filming Venice as the successful completion of the course will be screened. Under the direction of Michela Nardin and curated by Daniela Manzolli, the historic Venetian exhibition VideoConcorso Pasinetti will also make its comeback, celebrating its sixteenth edition. The event, always attentive to the dynamics of the Venetian soil and to the promotion of cinema in the lagoon, will be honored with a selection of the best works from the previous edition, starting with the winner Mama by Eduardo Vieitez.
Both side competitions will also make their comeback, with the fourth edition of the Music Video Competition, dedicated to music videos directed by university students and students from Italian and international film schools. This year, the nine finalists are from Poland, United Kingdom, India, USA, Canada, Romania, Germany, Brazil and Italy, the latter represented by Roberto Pisapia’s La casa dell’Orco (lit. The Ogre’s House).
The “Olga Brunner Levi” Prize, organized in collaboration with Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi, will celebrate its seventh edition. Focused on the themes of music and women, it will feature works by high-schoolers from all over the world. There are eight finalists from as many countries including Italy, represented by Livia Proto’s WE di Livia Proto. The winner will be elected by a jury of experts composed by Roberto Calabretto, Cosetta Saba and Marco Fedalto.
The Short Meeting Point will also return: an opportunity for discussion – open to the public – between the new students of the master’s degree in Fine Arts in Filmmaking and the directors of the International Competition. The closing-night show, dedicated to the interaction between cinema and arts, will be hosted by video artist and animator Igor Imhoff who, on the centenary of Federico Fellini’s birth, will “revive” some of the female characters from the movies of the master from Rimini on the Auditorium’s stage. Through video mapping and holograms, the virtual actresses will “interact” with actor Marco Tonino, playing Marcello Mastroianni, leaving the audience open-mouthed.