Monday, 01 February 2021 16:26

Giffoni Re-evolution, between fragility and innovation: Gubitosi talks about what he means for change at the Children’s Cinema Global Forum Gubitosi

2020 was an extraordinary year. It has shown how obstinacy and work can give life to small revolutions in unprecedented times. The Children’s Cinema Global Forum stems from this concept. The totally digital event brought together festival directors, directors, producers and organizers to provide opportunities for reflection on one of the sectors most affected by the health crisis: cinema.The panel, organized by the Lahore International Children’s Film Festival (Pakistan) and the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (United Arab Emirates), offered an analysis of the current situation and an approximation of what the future will look like for the audiovisual world. Moderated by Shoaib Iqbal of the Lahore Intl. Children's Film Festival (Pakistan), the webinar featured Dan Bennett from the Los Angeles Int'l Children's Film Festival (USA), Keith Bennie from the Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), as well as Claudio Gubitosi, creator and director of the Giffoni Film Festival.
"Today is an incredible opportunity - commented Gubitosi - for 50 years I have been managing Giffoni, I feel not only the weight of history but also the beauty and value it represents. In March, when we had the certainty that the festival could not be done with the formula we were used to, I certainly did not give up. Our country welcomes 400,000 people and over 6,000 jurors from 53 countries during the ten days of the event alone. From this room I chose to go forward, I rolled up my sleeves and promised to stay close to my young audience. Our community is huge: there are millions of giffoners in the world. The first thing I did was enter their rooms, giving them strength. From March to May, every day, we met online together with directors, actors, doctors, politicians. We wanted to network and be together, breaking down the walls of fear and loneliness".
At a time when most of the world events were canceled or reconverted entirely online, Giffoni did not stop. “I did not forget the great Italian festivals - continues Claudio Gubitosi - I called them, involved, advised them because the most important word of this 2020 was“ fragility ”. We have all tried, accepted and faced it. In this climate of impotence, many have chosen to organize everything online, I never wanted to proceed in this way. In Giffoni we are used to being close to our audience, to fill the squares, to hug each other but it was necessary to find a solution that would safeguard health first. We talked to the major health authorities and made a huge investment to secure all the children be present". And for giffoners abroad? “I moved the festival from July to August - replies the director - I had 3 thousand young people in attendance, 17 international hubs and 50 in Italy who followed us live. It was the first international event to combine the physical presence with the online participation. I wasn't brave, I was determined and the result was a different but no less intense Giffoni ”. And he continued: “This period has been fantastic for me. The pandemic gave me the opportunity to get out of a cage, to bring out all the energy I had inside. In this edition alone we have reached 260 million people, perhaps a normal festival would not have given me this possibility. And for the first time we organized Giffoni at Christmas, in 50 years it had never happened. This emergency has given me a completely different vision of the world, I have never stopped or relied exclusively to the  online format, but I have looked for a solution that has given me back freedom of thought and organization". The challenges are certainly not over: "We who have dedicated our lives to young people, to the new generations, cannot fail to reflect on the damage that covid has caused to young people - said Gubitosi - Covid has taken away their freedom, their sense of aggregation, schools. We cannot simply think about transferring what we did in 2020: we will find a destroyed society. On February 5th I will meet 150 Italian festival directors to understand how to regenerate these events. At a time when cinemas are closed, distributions rely on platforms, productions are blocked, what role can festivals play? It is a very serious question that we must ask ourselves globally”.There is no lack of a clear vision of the future: "The theme of 2021 is a neologism: Giffoni the re-evolution - he adds - We are not just a festival, we work all year round and we will continue on this path with appointments also in October, November and December . Everything new in the audiovisual world will be held in Giffoni. We have to get the audience used to being together and trusting the people who are close to us again. This is a very tough task. Readjusting was a necessity, today we can call it an opportunity”.

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