Two days to tell the story and future prospects of the Giffoni Experience: students, teachers and researchers at the GW October Conference welcomed with great enthusiasm and attention the case story illustrated on October 26 and 27 at the George Washington University. The promoters of the initiative were the director of the LISA Lab of the University of Salerno, Roberto Parente, and professor and director of the International Council for Small Business network, Ayman El Tarabishy. The two have developed an international research project focusing on the Gff, through an entrepreneurial perspective. director of Gex, Claudio Gubitosi and Giffoni Innovation Hub CEO Luca Tesauro. Were tasked to present the project of Giffoni and how it was born, and how it has grown and evolved in nearly 50 years of activities.
"I have experienced an exciting page of my life - says Gubitosi - my first intervention, introduced by Professor Parente, lasted more than 60 minutes. At the end, questions and curiosities of the many professors from foreign universities in attendance. Professor El Tarabishy, on the other hand, has recorded an in-depth tv program that will soon be available online on the American Ateneum platform".
In a gala party, George Washington University awarded the director of the Giffoni Experience the 2017Luminaries Award for Social Entrepreneurship in Practice, the other two awards were awarded to doctor Young Sup Joo, South Korean Minister for Medium Enterprises and professor George Solomon, an important researcher and professor of Management. As El Tarabishy explains "this honor goes to those who have made fabulous works in the world, and in this Giffoni reflects a true Italian miracle".
So much interest for Giffoni Innovation Hub as well, turning to the audience this time was its CEO Luca Tesauro, explaining the achievements in a few years and the future in the context of the new Gex missions. Supported by an engaging communicative rhythm, Tesauro explained with love, passion and energy what the heart of the new department for innovation is. "We have had the opportunity to share with colleagues around the world what is the soul of Giffoni - adds professor Parente - we now have dozens of more enthusiasts, the goal is for more and more researchers to approach this case a study from which to learn the secrets of success. " The Director Gubitosi and Luca Tesauro were also received at the Italian Embassy by the First Secretary and Head of Cultural Affairs, Dr. Giulia Prati, and by the Cultural Advisor, Dr. Renato Miracco. "The hope - concludes Gubitosi - is that we can maybe carry out a Giffoni Washington in 2018".
Claudio Gubitosi’s speech at the G.W. October Conference George Washington University
Thanks to all of you for the opportunity you have given me today to be here with you in this prestigious university and to introduce you to the story and the future of an idea born in a suburb of Southern Italy. My personal story and that of the Giffoni Experience are intertwined and united by an indissoluble bond. A story, as you will have the opportunity to hear in the presentation of professors Roberto Parente and Ayman El Tarabishy, whom I wish to thank for their affection and sensitivity, which does not stem from creative or sentimental certainty, from an easy and fertile place, with all the potential for supporting a project of this kind.
The person who is in front of you was a common man, an improvised and audacious eighteen year old, grown out of any context, cultural humus and even more out of any system, logic of creativity and enterprise. Everything was totally absent, or rather, non-existent. The person who is speaking to you, about 50 years after the birth of the Giffoni Experience, does not rest on the laurels of success but still lives with a great passion and pleasure for the stimuli of the future. This does not mean that I am unaware of the special revolution in the sweet, quiet and orderly Italian cultural system in which, at that time, only a few were entitled to do and where the periphery of a small southern Italian town was not just geographic but also, precisely, presumptuously cultural.
I would like to start my speech by quoting a film that at age 18 left a great mark on me: "The Wild Child" by Francois Truffaut (1969). Taken from the memory of a Parisian physician, the film revolves around the story of a boy who was discovered in the woods living in the wild, like an animal. He was thus entrusted to a physician with the goal of civilizing him. Strange voices circled in the village on a mysterious beast wandering in the forest. When the idea of a festival first sprang into my mind in the 1970s I could never have imagined that only a few years later, that is, in 1982, Francois Truffaut, one of the world's greatest filmmakers, would come to Giffoni for three days. A man, an artist, a unique talent, who had always refused the glamor and stage lights. The story of Victor, the wild child, is a sort of reverse experience of my life. Born in a "forest with so many swamps", over the years I have expressed the utmost obstinacy, sharing with nature and the place around me, wild values not contaminated by neither a hypocritical civilization or by the echo of the 1968 revolutions, which had never reached my valley. In all these years I also understood how Giffoni's action had been devastating in the principles that are behind the realization of events, not just the ones revolving around film.
I dared to do what was considered to be impossible. I thought of different worlds by traveling, never actually moving from Giffoni, at the beginning. I built everything that was not there, I demonstrated that you can be local and global together, giving dignity, character and contents to the global concept with devastating power even from a periphery of the world. I have not been civilized as Victor and I continue to be wild, but moderately. I am still an organizer of the event but am no longer seen as a wandering beast in the forests of Italian and world culture. Now I attract interest and admiration after a long period of criticism and derision. Once again, my wild character has given me strength, like a shield, to fight bloodless battles, to convince others of the goodness, validity, and importance of Giffoni's experience. The love for one’s home town, to live it, to go away from it but with the idea of returning, always, certainly were reasons for a strong bond with a reality that slowly aroused curiosity, then attention and finally love and attraction.
You will forgive me if I once again quote "the wild child", and I dare say that I find myself having "civilized and modernized" operators, organizers, and cultural events on the thrust of Giffoni's success. The network I created with my public financial supporters, the Regional Government and the National Government who dared to invest and believe in the potential of the Giffoni project was indeed fundamental. And so Giffoni becomes an example of good practice for so many events in Italy and in the World. I always try to inject elements that are immediately recognized by those who are invited to participate into the technical, mathematical, creative and rational schemes of my programs. These are: love, passion, desire, loyalty, truth, transparency, shared content to live together, to stimulate dreams, travel and prospects. Professors Roberto Parente and Ayman El Tarabishy did their best to capture the origin of matter, starting with what I call the big bang, with the precise date of November 20, 1970. Every once in a while I thought I would draw them in a black hole, but I am happy to say that we can now finally admire the galaxy of the current Giffoni. From a little dot to a constellation of events that always start from my Region, Campania, and then expand like a good virus in Italy and the world influencing generations and new managing models.
A magnetic attraction that has disrupted the territory: roads, villages, the environment, nature; all in co-operation with the idea. Impressive structural works such as the Citadel of Cinema and now the Giffoni Multimedia Valley, a state-of-the-art facility in southern Italy. It took 32 years for these two very important works to be completed. I have always believed in their realization and I have never tired of waiting. For me it is fun to note that after hundreds of graduate theses and an in-depth study I commissioned to a famous Italian anthropologist, despite the 600 pages, we were never able to fully explain "why Giffoni?" “Why me?" Maybe the mistery is best if kept unsolved.
In the end, will it matter to find some other point of discussion that will certainly never have a definite answer? Giffoni is here, it exists, grows, develops, dreams, flies, produces, distributes. I look closely at cultural events both in Italy and abroad. In many, I find a disarming ritual and an inability to read or connect to reality or to increasingly fluctuating and agitated societies. For years, new technologies have enabled the creation of impossible projects. The audience’s taste changes and demands new stimuli. Many festivals live on the past or on the spaces they have conquered, without any ambition. I was clear-minded and careful when observing my audience, the youth, the generations growing up in order to study them, understand them so to give them the opportunity to meet one another, get to know each other and network.
The Giffoni cinema is different for this reason. The movies are real, sometimes hard, complex. A careful selection that focuses on childhood and youth with beauty and torment. It raises questions, tries to give answers, produces doubts that need to be loosened over time by the same protagonists. As mentioned before the focus of all this are the young people who have made and still make up the story of Giffoni. Youths from every continent who find in Giffoni a trusted friend, the place where they can best express their passions, develop their own sensitivity. Even the world's great talents, Oscar winners and Nobel prizes, representatives of the most important institutions, come to Giffoni to attend, to participate, to hear, to transfer values and suggestions to the youth. But also to breathe and be immerse in a unique, load-filled atmosphere full of energy that they will bring in their lives forever. A town that becomes the world's square when you have waited for a whole year with trepidation to be part of the Giffoni family. They are the GIFFONERS, as they like to be called, the millennial who cannot wait to express themselves, to know, to learn and to trust in the idea of a better future for all. It is amazing that in an era of total chaos between images, communication, news, and different stimuli, Giffoni can create an order and encourage everyone, everywhere in the world, to say "I AM GIFFONI". A stamp, an indelible mark and a lifestyle.
They wait for Giffoni to unfold in those 15 days a year, and we are well aware that when they eventually go back home they feel a void. In Giffoni they often get the opportunity to find out who they really are, pull out their personality, improve communication and problem solving, and identify the responsibility of leadership. Living with and for the young people has meant for Giffoni, to devote itself completely to these generations. Throughout the year, we also share activities and initiatives through our social media channels. We promote social campaigns to improve their lives, get them out of nightmares, deviance, or misguided journeys. Our purpose is to inform and not to form and we do so by encouraging them to think that life is beautiful, and that it must be lived with respect and pride. Their life and well-being are central to our mission and vision. Their lives and that of their respective families. All this could no longer be called just a festival. And without fear and against every marketing rule in 2009, the word FESTIVAL was taken out by the brand and replaced with what I thought was more fitting: EXPERIENCE, a philosophical concept, adopted by so many other public and private subjects in Europe and around the world The roads ahead of us now are different and all uphill but this does not mean problematic.
Innovation, production, further development of the territory and business marketing, an ongoing and physical relationship with all the Italian educational establishments, universities included and for the next three years Giffoni has also been chosen as the privileged subject for cinema teaching in schools. Many other projects open on the horizon and we move toward a new era. It is already time for GIFFONI OPPORTUNITY. A new organizing team, alongside the existing one, is ready to handle the present and the future. The great creativity and knowledge machine will employ no less than 300 young people by 2020. We are a beautiful Italian periphery story, one about the creation of an enterprise from nowhere that is now loved and recognized everywhere.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the attention you have offered me. If this example can be used to encourage university students to believe and to desire to do, dare, to look further, to determine their future and that of others with an idea, I can only be proud and happy. Three sayings have always distinguished my life: You can do it. It has to be done. Why not".