Friday, 15 October 2021 10:22

Rediscovering the beauty of movie theaters and that of meeting with others: the ninth edition of the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival ended amidst young people’s emotion

Giffoni’s first international event was supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture – Directorate-General for Cinema and, as for North Macedonia, by the Ministry of Culture, the OSCE and the National Film Agency

In the dim light of a cinema, where everything is rarefied except the viewing, 180 young people  met again in Skopje. Their hunger for knowledge, their need (so strong as to be almost physical) to broaden their horizons and enjoy the pleasures of interaction, dialogue and meeting were the main features of the ninth edition of the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Festival.
Co-financed by the Italian Ministry of CultureDirectorate-General for Cinema and the North Macedonia Film Agency and supported by the OSCE and the Italian Embassy in Skopje, the festival was organized by Giffoni and the association Planet M.
Eyes were glued to the screen, ideas and reflections were expressed in a natural and emotional way. During six days the jurors rediscovered the social dimension of cinema, because when we are in a movie theater we let ourself go, we become more authentic, we cry and laugh together with those who are just a few seats away. When we are at the movie theater, we are in a non-place that is able to open up a thousand doors and possibilities. Cinema is an art that allows us to discover ourselves and others with an astounding clarity.
“Giffoni’s international activities have restarted from Skopje: it was a necessary sign that we strongly wanted to give and that will soon take us wherever our experience will be needed”, explained Giffoni’s managing director Jacopo Gubitosi. “North Macedonia has shown us great affection: just think of the excellent work that has been done by the director of the Macedonian festival Darko Basheski and by the program director Dea Krstevska. This adventure, which began nine years ago, is now a solid reality that relies on the energy of young people and their enthusiasm for the future. I would like to express my special thanks to the Italian ambassador in Skopje Andrea Silvestri, a man of extraordinary sensitivity and vision who has attended this edition with interest and involvement. Supporting this event was something necessary, and our jurors showed us that with their passion, curiosity and energy”.
The structure of the festival was similar to that of #Giffoni50Plus: a jury of 180 young people divided into three categories − juniors (10 to 14 years old), cadets (14 to 16 years old) and seniors (16 to 19 years old) − was joined by other boys and girls from Macedonian and foreign hubs, who attended movie screenings, debates and online workshops. The event was organized with the backing of the OSCE Mission in Skopje and supported with funds from the “Building bridges” program for inclusion and cooperation between educational institutions.
It was fantastic to be back in the cinema after such a long period”, said Darko Basheski, director of Giffoni Macedonia. “Being able to see again the enthusiasm of the youngsters, their smiling eyes, their tears during the festival and above all at the end of it proved once again that Giffoni can overcome any obstacle and hardship and continue to be a unique reference point for young people who want to meet, exchange ideas and learn. This year’s restart has been an important step towards the next edition, which will hopefully get back to shine with even more people in attendance, more activities, international guests and other initiatives throughout the year: a big celebration on the occasion of our tenth birthday!
Italian productions were given special consideration, with the screening of short films entirely dedicated to Italian cinema. This edition had three winning feature films: SPACE BOY, directed by Olivier Pairoux, VACARME by Neegan Trudel and ON THE EDGE by Eduard Bordukov. As for the shorts section, the winners were the Italian MI PIACE SPIDER-MAN, E ALLORA? by director Federico Mikali, FIRST LINE by Katya Bugrova and First-Time Sex Rules by Polina Kondrateva. Furthermore, LIVING SEA by Emma Poposka, who lives in Hong Kong, was voted best film made by a student.
“We are happy to be part of the big Giffoni family and to spread its values in this part of the world” said Dea Krstevska, program director of the festival. “In our own small way, we are managing to do it: indeed, there are many young people who, after being introduced to Giffoni’s experience and training, decide to pursue a professional career in the audiovisual industry. Some of them have been invited to our masterclasses to tell their stories and encourage their peers not to be afraid of expressing and challenging themselves. This edition took place under the sign of responsibility, with reduced numbers and many restrictions and in full compliance with all safety measures, yet enthusiasm was sky high. After all, Giffoni is also this: a place where young people can feel safe and free at the same time.  Free to be as they are, or as they would like to be, without being judged. A place where they grow up and train to become responsible adults who will be able to improve the world with their ideas, creativity and critical thinking”.

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