Friday, 22 October 2021 15:06

70 years spent “on tiptoe”: institutions, talents and giffoners celebrate the creator and director of Giffoni

Gubitosi: “No miracles. The secret of success? Spreading happiness and always keeping an eye on the future”

For many, turning seventy is a milestone. But for those who, like Claudio Gubitosi, have been spreading happiness for more than fifty years while keeping their feet firmly planted in their roots and constantly looking towards the future, becoming a seventy-year-old is a new beginning. And from this very date, 20 October 2021, Giffoni has started a revolution that will once again leave its mark on the territories and generations that yesterday, during a day full of emotions, celebrated the founder and director of a worldwide loved idea. The celebrations started in the City Hall of Giffoni Valle Piana where, in the presence of mayor Antonio Giuliano, prefect of Salerno Francesco Russo and a large delegation of the first citizens of the Picentini area, Gubitosi was welcomed with the following words: “Best wishes Claudio, Giffoni shines in the world thanks to you”. The President of the Ente Autonomo Giffoni Experience Pietro Rinaldi, its honorary president Generoso Andria, don Giosuè Santoro and don Generoso Bacco, clergymen from Giffoni, and representatives of the local police force were also present.
Gubitosi was touched by the many expressions of esteem and affection that began to flood his telephone and offices since early in the morning: “How do I get into my first seventy years?”, he said. “As I have always done in my life. Unobtrusively. On tiptoe”. And this innate lightness was what made the meeting in the Assembly Room of Giffoni Valle Piana’s City Hall a rendezvous with history and an opportunity to plan the future of Giffoni.
Today is a day of celebration for our town, for the Campania region and, I would say, for the whole of Italy”, began the first citizen of Giffoni Valle Piana. “Starting immediately, I would like to thank you on behalf of myself and the town administration”, continued Antonio Giuliano. “Many thanks to the Gubitosi family, thank you for what you have done over the years, supporting the director humbly and with a strong sense of belonging. You have marked important milestones for our community. Dear Claudio, you have instilled an immense joy in each of us: you shared it with your son and daughter along with your emotions and foresight and, in the same way, you passed it on to all the people of Giffoni and to the youngsters who live in our town. And what is more, as your dream continued to expand, you always stayed true to yourself and that is the most extraordinary thing of all”.
During these 52 years the town has changed, the community has changed: “Thanks to you − the first citizen continued − each one of us is different, the town is different, families have opened the doors of their homes and welcomed young people from all over the world. You have always taught us the values of unity and openness because this is part of your cultural and ethical heritage. Today, too, the world is in Giffoni and all the jurors are celebrating you. Your determination will allow you to tackle new challenges as a young septuagenarian. I will always be at your side”.
Francesco Russo, Prefect of Salerno, gave an intense speech. His words were not simply a tribute to Claudio Gubitosi, but an acknowledgement of a project that has been able to transform the territory, giving it value and a strong identity: “When people come here – he said – they all become a little bit giffoners. Here we are able to recapture the naturalness and authenticity that are typical of young people. Claudio Gubitosi is a great visionary and a man of cinema, yet his feet are firmly planted on the ground. He is deeply committed to this territory, he comes from this provincial area. He is a man of great determination, great sagacity and great cleverness because he has built all this step by step, using tools that made it possible to enhance the event and its surroundings, and did all this in a truly enlightened way. He has created opportunities for young people to meet and interact with each other in order to help them become good citizens, and that is an extraordinary accomplishment.  I am so grateful to him from the bottom of my heart. Today is a celebration day not only for Gubitosi but also for Giffoni and the entire territory”.
The mayors in attendance delivered a heartfelt speech. Indeed, the first citizens of Giffoni Sei Casali, San Cipriano Picentino, Castiglione del Genovesi, Pontecagnano Faiano, Bellizzi, Olevano sul Tusciano, Montecorvino Pugliano, Montecorvino Rovella, Acerno and San Mango Piemonte expressed their best wishes to Director Gubitosi in a joint message. “Today we feel emotion, gratitude and pride”, they wrote. “Today we are celebrating an extraordinary and brilliant man. We would like to thank you for your enthusiasm, which has always been young and has allowed you to fulfill a dream that at first was only yours and then became everyone’s dream. You are a visionary, but you are also a man of action. The world needs people like you, namely people who know how to make their dreams come true, just as you have done and continue to do”.
Gubitosi spoke with emotion: “I am very excited to see all of you here”, he started. “Over the years I have always tried to find the right path, which should always be followed. You have to love what you do, you have to know how to transfer and convey this love. You have to know how to make everyone involved in a design, in a vision. I have always tried to do that”.
Gubitosi’s first seventy years merge with the story of Giffoni and become an opportunity to outline a perspective and begin to foretaste the future: “Now is the time to give even more content to our valley of cultures and opportunities”, he continued. “We managed to create harmony within an institutional chain that worked well and went from the Municipality to Europe, and back again. This allowed us to show that Southern Italy is able to do and does not just mean depopulation and depression”.
On the horizon is the opening of a new branch of the Milan Business School and, in addition to that, the Studios and a Campus: this is how the Multimedia Valley is developing: “It is our duty − he added − to work in order not to let young people leave. We must be able to think in terms of unity. We must commit ourselves so that our young people can find the place of their self-realization here”.
These 70 years of mine − concluded Gubitosi − are inextricably connected to the 52 years of the Festival. I believe that in some way I have been an instrument to make others rejoice. This is how I interpret success, as the ability to give happiness. What’s next? My outstanding team is able to change the world more and better than I can. And since this is a great family story, my son and my daughter will be able to keep going in this direction, together with others. It takes determination, which I consider to be my greatest talent. I do not believe I have been brave, but I have been determined and I have lived this first part of my life, these seventy years of life, driven by this determination”.
Ritual photos, the awarding of a commemorative scroll and a toast concluded the first part of the celebration.
The day then continued with a party at the Multimedia Valley, where Gubitosi was surrounded by the affection of his family members, who have always supported him in this adventure, his historical friends, among whom were Alfonso Andria, Raffaele Budetti and Giuseppe Blasi, and the team members, who help him make his extraordinary intuitions a reality. Before entering the Sala Galileo, a performance by the flag-throwers from Cava de’ Tirreni took place. Once in the movie theater, the creator of Giffoni was welcomed by a video collage featuring some of the festival’s friends, who − albeit remotely − did not want to miss the event and sent a warm message of good wishes. From sociologist Domenico De Masi, who underlined Gubitosi’s “clever madness” and “generous humanity” to Fiorello, from Christian De Sica to Giuliano Sangiorgi. And then, Elena Sofia Ricci, Mara Venier, Paola Cortellesi, Giovanni Allevi, Toni Servillo, Lino Banfi, Sergio Castellitto, Anna Valle, Nicolò De Devitiis, Fatma Al Remaihi, Roberto Proia, Luigi Lonigro. Among them, there were the jurors’ voices, too: “Giffoni is like pajamas, when you put them on you feel like cuddling”, said Tommaso from Riva Ligure.
Gubitosi then took the floor: “I have to thank my territory and, in a certain sense, I have to apologize to it because I kind of abused it. I love the local dimension because it produces contradictions, it shapes your mind and trains you to deal with harshness. Anyway, I am happy with what I have done because today Giffoni is known all over the world. I am often asked what success means to me − he underlined − and in turn I ask myself how it can be measured. The answer I have given myself is that success lies in the sense of happiness one is able to convey. Some like to call this a miracle, but none of us has a halo. On the contrary, the greatest achievement is succeeding in being normal. How? By understanding the extent to which an idea belongs to you, without fear and with great determination.  This is a quality that should never be lacking”. In an attempt to draw a balance, it can be said that the greatest achievement is undoubtedly “the grace that one can feel here. Grace is part of the world − continued Gubitosi − and it is up to us to know how to capture it. It seemed foolish when, at the age of eighteen, I came up with this idea and shared it with a group of friends whom I like to call “the knights who achieved the feat”. Instead, it became reality and we became the first-ever Italian startup, overturning all the commonplaces and proving that it was possible to hold a festival in a town that had no hotels and with no journalists, philosophers or poets at its head”. Besides being “the most necessary of all festivals”, as François Truffaut once defined it, Giffoni is undoubtedly the most “resistant” one because its brain and heart have remained the same for over half a century, regardless of the arms and legs that have supported them. “Every now and then I ask myself how I managed to live with time and through time”, Gubitosi said. “Time is an enemy of each of us, it is beyond our control, we grow older with every passing second. Fighting time is a losing battle, yet we can team up with it and that is exactly what I have been doing for at least thirty years. We have to learn how to share it patiently, that is why I decided to befriend time and dominate it by talking and thinking only about the future. This way I always found myself one step ahead of time so as not to be overwhelmed”. The day of celebration ended with a performance by the “Lorenzo Rinaldi” marching band of Giffoni and a toast accompanied by lots of photos and smiles. The same smiles that have always distinguished the story of Giffoni.

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