30 WORKS IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION: MANY OF THEM FACE THE ISSUE OF WAR FROM AN ORIGINAL PERSPECTVES. AN ITALIAN DIRECTOR IN THE COMPETITION, AND SHORT MOVIES COMING FROM CANNES AND LOCARNO
THE JURY: THE FRENCH DIRECTOR AND AUTHOR COLINE SERREAU, THE DOCUMENTARY FILM DIRECTOR FRANCESCO MONTAGNER AND THE PROGRAMMER AND CURATOR MARINA MOTTIN
SPECIAL GUESTS: THE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY LUCA BIGAZZI, THE JAPANESE FILMMAKER YUKIKO MISHIMA (WITH PRE-OPENING), THE ANIMATORS PETER LORD AND BARRY PURVES AND, REMOTELY, THE CULT MOVIE DIRECTOR SHIN’YA TSUKAMOTO AND THE INDIAN DIRECTOR ASHISH PANDEY
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: FOCUS ON AARDMAN’S ANIMATION, ITALIAN AND MEXICAN VIDEOART,THE FIRST NUDES IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA, EAST ASIA NOW AND THE PASINETTI VIDEO COMPETION
SIDE COMPETIONS: MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION, “OLGA BRUNNER LEVI” AWARD, CARPENÈ-MALVOLTI SCRIPT COMPETITION AND THE SELECTION FOR “LE GIORNATE DELLA LUCE” IN SPILIMBERGO
From the 4th to the 7th of May the twelfth edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival will return in a “widespread” form in Venice, starting from the historic location of the Auditorium Santa Marta. As usual, there will be the International Competition with the best short movies made by the students of film schools and universities all over the world, along with special programs, international competitions, collateral competitions and special guests. A very rich edition that attempts with difficulty to go back to normality would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Fondazione di Venezia and the support of the historic partners Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi and NH Venezia Rio Novo, which aslo have been joined by the online short films platform WeShort, the oldest production company of sparkling wine in Italy Carpenè-Malvolti, the National Museum of Cinema of Turin, the festival Le giornate della luce of Spilimbergo and ESU Venezia, the regional company for the right to university education.
Preannounced for the third consecutive year with a help of a wonderful poster by Lorenzo Mattotti, which pays homage to the cinema and to women, the first festival in Europe totally created, organized, and managed by students comes back, with the coordination of the artistic and organizational director Roberta Novielli. A festival organized by young people for young people that was initiated by the Ca’ Foscari University, is becoming more and more integrated in the cultural life of the city thanks to its “widespread” character. This year as well there will be a possibility to follow the program and join the guests of the festival not only at the Auditorium Santa Marta, but also at other five locations, such as museums, cultural foundations and institutions of the city: the Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, the Museo d’Arte Orientale – Ca’ Pesaro, the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and the Casa del Cinema of Venice.
Core of the manifestation is still the International Competition, with 30 of the best shorts made in the last year by university’s students and schools of cinema from all over the world. It became one of the most prestigious European’s showcase for the “young” cinema, the Competition this year reflects like always the spirit and anxiousness of our times, that’s why this year’s highlights are various works dedicated, in a more or less direct way, to war, in all of its meanings and genres. One example is Teuner of the Czech Ondřey Veverka, based on a true story of the homonymous doctor in a communist’s prison during 50s and once again in Wiedersehen by young Helene Sorger where the fate of two deserters from opposite sides crosses at the end of the Second World War. The Nigerian Tochi Biko with Freedom Come tells a dramatic civil war story from the perspective of two brothers, separated by the events. But we can approach war even in a more ironic way – maybe if we try to cast it out- as the Turkish Nuri Chihan Ozdogan do with Same Night, Different Blue or through the endless possibilities offered by animation: like in the case of the visual’s experimentations of the Iranian director Ali Astaraki in My Brain Burst Out Laughing and of the stop motion The Seine’s Tears, about Algerian’s protests in France on the ‘61.
Miriam Cossu Sparagano Ferraye will be the only one to represent Italy in this year’s competition, with her observational documentary Pupus, made for the CSC Documentary of Palermo. Despite the fame of “pupi” (Sicilian Puppets) all over the world, it is still an unknown in its internal dynamics reality. The director casts her affectionate and sincere glance on the theater-laboratory of the Mancuso family and specifically on little Carmelo to tell the story of families who carried this traditional art for generations. There are also prestigious participants such as two Brazilian short movies, Leonardo Martinelli’s Neon Phantom and Jasmine Tenucci’s August Sky, presented respectively in Locarno and Cannes, which was also attended by the American movie Safe by Ian Barling, as well as traditionally underrepresented pictures including the aforementioned Nigeria, Bangladesh with The Red Frock by Ashiqur Rahman and, for the first time competing at the Short Film Festival, Benin, with Another White Girl by Medessè Agohoundjè, a movie about an albino girl in search for identity.
The short films participating in the competition will be awarded by an international jury, composed of three personalities from the world of cinema, starting with Coline Serreau, French director and writer. Being born in a family of artists, she made her debut in 1977 with Pourqoi Pas! and gained international recognition with Three Man and a Cradle (1985), for which she won the César Award for the best picture, followed by works such as La Crise, Visit to a Green Planet and Chaos, all scripted by herself. She has also written, directed and interpreted numerous plays, composed film scores, and conducted a choir that she created herself. The young Francesco Montagner after winning the award for the Best Documentary on cinema at the Venice International Film Festival with Animata Resistenza and the award Filmmakers of the Present – Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival with the documentary Brotherhood, returns as jury member to “his” Ca’ Foscari, where he studied and attended the university’s Digital Cinema course. Another member of the jury will be curator and programmer Marina Mottin, who during her long career collaborated with some of the most important cultural institutions of Europe, from The Venice Film Festival to the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, including Locarno Film Festival and the Fribourg International Film Festival. As an expert of African art and culture, she has curated exhibitions, shows and events of great artistic and historical value. Since 2011 she’s been collaborating with Art Basel. As usual, the three jurors will be the protagonists of the Special Jury Programme, during which they will meet the public and will present short films and extracts they have personally chosen or directed.
There wil be many awards assigned by the jury: apart from the first prize, there are also going to be the special mention Museo Nazionale del Cinema for the work which will offer the best contribution to cinema as an art genre, the special mention WeShort for the work which will provide the best experimentation in cinematographic languages. Technical juries will instead assign the Levi Award for the best soundtrack (jury: Roberto Calabretto, Daniele Furlati, Paolo Troncon), the special mention Le Giornate della Luce for the best photography (jury: Luca Pacilio, Donato Guerra, Silvia Moras) and the Pateh Sabally Prize awarded by the Municipality of Venice for multi-ethnicity.
Side competitions, which from many years since now have been operating alongside the main one, will also be back: the Levi Music Video International Competition in its sixth edition will present the eight best musical videos created by university’s students and cinema’s schools coming from many different countries. Their videos will be judged by Giovanni Bedeschi, Marco Fedalto, Daniele Furlati e Roberto Calabretto. The ninth edition of the Olga Brunner Levi Prize – organized, as the previous one, in collaboration with Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi – involves a competition of videos made by high school students from all over the world, with a focus on women in music. All of the five finalists’ works have been shot by girls coming from Austria, China, Iran, Uzbekistan and Italy, represented by Chiara Mancina with Up and Down. The jury awarding the best video is formed by Roberto Calabretto, Marco Fedalto e Cosetta Saba. Moreover, the Carpenè-Malvolti Script Competition has been renewed for a second edition with an exclusive contest dedicated to the directors of the International Competition and Music Video. The participants should write a script for the production of a short film focused on Carpenè-Malvolti company’s history. The jury consists of Domenico Scimone, Alessandro Loprieno e Eduardo Fernando Varela. This year’s great news is that the eight short films selected by the Short film festival will be presented in a separate contest in the following Spilimbergo festival Le giornate della luce.
A wide and extensive range of special programs, masterclasses and retrospective will complete the festival schedule, starting from a special guest Luca Bigazzi. The iconic cinematographer will be the protagonist of an exclusive masterclass for the Short film festival audience. Seven times winner of the David di Donatello and Nastri d’Argento, Luca Bigazzi has worked with some of the most important Italian directors, including Paolo Virzì and Gianni Amelio. He also established a long-term collaboration with director Paolo Sorrentino, with whom he has worked since his debut film The Consequences of Love, as well as Il Divo, The Great Beauty and Loro. Luca Bigazzi is going to retrace the steps of his long and well-established career through a conversation with Ca’ Foscari former student and now director of photography Robin Andriolo. Japanese director Yukiko Mishima will be another extremely relevant guest, she will join the festival pre-opening and a special program dedicated to her movies. Her latest work Shape of Red will be screened on May 3, this film is a sensitive portrait of women’s daily life in contemporary Japanese society. The screening will represent the starting point for a tour which will also take the movie director to Rome and Naples. Yukiko Mishima is one of the most exciting Japanese female directors who has emerged from Japan’s new century’s cinematic scene. After some experience as a documentary filmmaker, she made her debut as a director with the movie The Tattooer (2009). Yukiko Mishima has later on directed 8 feature-length films, including the multi-award-winning Dear Etranger (2017) which will be screened at Venice’s Casa del Cinema on the following week. The special program dedicated to her movies will provide a priceless chance to introduce her cinematic outlook in Italy, as well as the opportunity to preview one of her latest works, Ode to joy, as part of the collective project DICOV-12.
This year, there will be a greater focus on “short” animation movies, with three different programs dedicated to them, starting with a special recognition of Peter Lord, author of classics such as Chicken run (2000) and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), and a pillar on the European animation horizon. A long interview on the Auditorium’s stage will be dedicated to him, with projection of some of his greatest shorts. Barry Purves will also take the stand (he already attended the Short as a juror in 2017), as he will return to Venice to present his new short No Ordinary Joe and introduce his other passion: theater. As a matter of fact, Purves has worked on over forty theatrical productions as a director, stage manager and scenographer. Furthermore, thirteen short movies of animation will be presented, made by authors of the Aardman Animations, historic production company founded in 1972 focused on claymation, which has created iconic characters such as Wallace & Gromit. Nonetheless, it has never disregarded digital methods for its productions (Flushed away and Arthur Christmas).
Back to Asia, with the cult movie director Shin’ya Tsukamoto, important guest of last year’s edition, who comes back (virtually) to Venice to present, as an Italian preview, his novel A Snake of June, adapted from his 2002 classic. The release of his novel for Marsilio will represent a chance to talk about his literary career, perhaps less known than the cinematographic one, but equally interesting, to understand how the author interacts with different artistic ways of expressing himself. Shifting the focus to India, Cecilia Cossio has worked on a program entirely dedicated to Ashish Pandey. It will be the director himself who, connecting from Mumbai, will introduce three of his works, starting from The Cabin Man (2007) followed by Khule darwaaze (2010) and Nooreh (2018); production from which the will of the director to give a voice to marginalized emerges, discerning from their religious belonging or geographical origin. In the end, this year East Asia Now is coming back, a focus on the last trends from East Asia, curated by Stefano Locati who will introduce four works – from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan – which represent original perspective regarding the given country.
We could not omit the recurring programs of the Short, essential occasions for the festival’s regulars, meaning the event regarding Italian video-art and the one dedicated to early cinema. The first one, Lo sguardo sospeso, will pay a tribute to Elisabetta Di Sopra, who has been an active distibutor of the video-art in our country and who is managing the program every year. We will revisit her career from Legami (2010) to one of her latest works, Intersezioni (2021), both projects that have at the core an inquiry of the human body. Carlo Montanaro, instead, with Il corpo Svelato, has prepared a “spicy” program this year, tributing first nudes – not solely scientific – of the history of cinema, from the Lumière brothers to George Méliès and the Pathé brothers. A showcase dedicated to the VideoConcorso Pasinetti will be present. It includes a presentation of the scholastic projects Sguardi di periferia and the projection of other works which will be introduced at the Venetian festival. The event has always given space to social, environmental and cultural issues of the city. At last, a program will be dedicated to the Mexican video-art, cured by Corinne Mazzoli and introducing the works of the Ibero Puebla University and the results of a challenge brought forward by the students of the fifth edition of the Master in Fine Arts in Filmaking at Ca’ Foscari. It will consist in shooting a short within 72 hours to later interact with the directors of the international contest in Venice.
The festival will end with “Chasing”, a splendid dance and light show curated by Simone Arganini that will be accompanied by the nomination of the winners, who will be rewarded with original glass sculptures crafted by glass masters who join the consortium PRIMOVETRO – Vetro Artistico di Murano.